Due to the ongoing drought, in February and March this year, the Secretary of the USDA issued Disaster Declarations for numerous counties in California including San Diego. This means eligible farmers and ranchers of “family-sized” farming operations, may apply for a USDA disaster loan (maximum $500,000) for physical and crop production loss that has occurred since January 1st, 2016. The incident period is currently ongoing, but the application deadline is November 2nd, 2016. To apply, county farmers need to contact the Farm Service Agency in Bakersfield (661-336-0967 ext 2 or 5000 California Ave, Suite 100 Bakersfield, CA 93309). This is not a grant or free money, but rather disaster loans for farmers/ranchers economically impacted by the drought, who may not have other options.
Due to the USDA Declaration, the Small Business Administration has also declared many counties, including San Diego, as disaster areas. The SBA also has a disaster loan program, and it applies to eligible small, non-farm businesses (for example truck companies that would have driven for farmers, or farm equipment vendors), agricultural collectives, and some private non-profits. This declaration is applicable for losses sustained as of January 1st, 2016 with an application deadline of November 2nd, 2016. To apply, eligible businesses should contact the SBA at 1-800-659-2955, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.sba.gov/disaster.
Important to note - the incident period for both these loan programs limits assistance based on drought impacts that have occurred this year, not the past couple of years.
Drought Disaster Farm Loan Information - CalOES (March 2017)
Cal OES Drought Designation Letter (4-10-2014)
Drought Designation (February 27, 2014)