SBA Drought Relief Coming to Houghton County Businesses

Winter was rough on many area businesses that rely on the regular snowfall that drops in the Upper Great Lakes. In March Michigan was able to secure the SBA disaster loan program for more than 40 counties between the Lower and Upper Peninsula for a drought declaration on February 20th. Notably, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Baraga County were left off the list. This was in part due to the three counties not meeting the Department of Agriculture’s drought threshold to meet SBA assistance. On an appeal Houghton County was the only one in the state to qualify based on a small section western section of Ontonagon County, an adjoining zone to Houghton that reached a level three drought status.

Assistance will come to Houghton County for businesses suffering from the recent winter drought. The U.S. Small Business Administration, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the UP Small Business Development Center shared resource information with business owners late last week. The SBA’s Emergency Disaster Loan program will seek to help businesses cover working capital to fill operational costs from the declaration date. The SBA’s officials emphasized that the loans are not meant to make a business whole from the winter but to help a business float to the next winter.

The program will provide long-term 30-year loans with a four percent interest rate, for up to 2,000,000 dollars. Businesses that do take advantage of the loans with the administration will not need to begin payments for up to the first year. Loans will also not accrue interest during the first 12-month period.

Businesses can apply for loans directly through After filling out some personal and financial information, providing details on credit and  debt history. Business owners can share an impact statement explaining how the drought affected economic losses. The SBA says that owners should know if their business qualifies for the loan program within two to three weeks.

The deadline to file for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program will end December 26, 2024. Please contact the SBA’s Customer Service Center by email at or by phone at 1-800-659-2955 for further assistance.