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HARLINGEN — Farmers, ranchers and some small businesses in the Rio Grande Valley that were hurt by prolonged drought are eligible to apply for low-interest federal emergency disaster loans.

Eligible small businesses are those dependent on farmers and ranchers.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Small Business Administration are making the loans available in response to damages and losses brought on by drought conditions from April 1 through Oct. 31, 2013.

“The federal announcements are welcome news to farmers, ranchers and small business owners dependent on farmers and ranchers in Cameron County,” County Judge Carlos Cascos said.

“We certainly hope that our affected residents will take advantage of these loan applications.”

Cameron, Willacy and Hidalgo counties are among close to 250 counties designated as eligible for the emergency disaster loans.

Although the deadline to apply for the loan programs is Dec. 23, 2014, officials are encouraging affected individuals to apply soon.

Farmers and ranchers can contact the Cameron County office of the USDA Farm Service Agency at (956) 399-1311, ext. 2.

The office is located at 2315 W. Frontage Road Expressway 77/83, Suite No. 1, in San Benito.

It is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Affected small businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers can contact the Small Business Administration District Office at (956) 427-8533.

That office is located at 2422 E. Tyler Ave., Suite C, in Harlingen. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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— Hope K.