We are all working hard to recover and rebuild from the destruction of Hurricane Irma. Statewide, the total agricultural cost of the storm has taken it’s toll, but we remain optimistic for the future of our groves. the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Irma’s winds and rains caused widespread destruction of crops, buildings, fencing and other property. Our friends at Florida Citrus have given us an update of on some of the plan to help rebuild.
Gov. Rick Scott activated a $25 million Florida Citrus Emergency Loan Program to support citrus businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma. The Citrus Emergency Loan Program, which is a subset of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, provides short-term, interest-free working capital loans to qualified citrus businesses that experienced physical and/or economic damage during the storm.
These loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.
Designated Disaster Area: All of Florida’s 67 counties.
Qualified Applicant: Applications will be accepted by qualified citrus businesses that maintain a citrus grove in the state of Florida. Qualified applicants must be a Florida citrus grower with land in production that has suffered physical damage and/or economic injury as a result of the designated disaster and be established prior to Sept. 4, 2017. Citrus business means any business that is (a) primarily engaged in activities designated by one or more of the following NAICS codes: 111310 – Orange Groves and 111320 – Citrus (except Orange) Groves; (b) provides evidence that it owns or leases one or more parcels of land on which citrus is produced; and (c) completes the Citrus Production Report provided within the Citrus Emergency Loan Program Application (see complete eligibility requirements here). Note: Citrus businesses have no employee restrictions.
Amount: Up to $150,000.
Term: One (1) year.
Interest: Loans will be interest-free for the loan term.
Payments: Payments are not required during the established loan term, but loans must be paid in full by end of the designated loan term, otherwise the loan will be considered in default and penalties apply.
Payment Process: Loan payments will be made directly by borrowers to Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, the State of Florida appointed program administrator.
Non-Payment Penalties: Penalties for non-payment will begin at the expiration of the established term of each loan, and will be as follows:
- 12% per annum on the unpaid balance for the first 180 days following expiration of the established term.
- 18% per annum on the unpaid balance thereafter.
- Default is subject to normal commercial collection process.
Applications will be accepted by qualified Florida citrus businesses under this program through Nov. 30, 2017, contingent on the availability of funds.
- Review eligibility requirements and loan process.
- Download, complete and sign the citrus business application form.
- Gather required support documentation.
- Contact and submit completed and signed application and support documentation to your local Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC). You can locate your local SBDC at www.FloridaSBDC.org/locations.
For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Headquarters. Email: [email protected] Phone: (850) 898-3489.
About the Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was first activated following Hurricane Andrew. It has been activated 20 additional times following disasters and has helped more than 2,730 small businesses statewide to receive more than $63 million in assistance.