LITTLE ROCK, Ark (KTHV) -- The drought has affected not only the farming industry, but other businesses as well.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers financial assistance in the way of loans to businesses who have suffered the conditions.
The "Economic Injury Disaster Loans" are direct loans from the SBA for up to $2 million with a 4 percent interest rate for each business.
The entire state is suffering from one of the driest seasons ever. And many business owners have seen a drought in their profits.
The farmers may be hit first and hit the hardest, but other businesses suffer as well including timber workers, parks, marinas, maintenance workers, and restaurants. They all take a hit when the temperature rises, when it's too hot to get out and cut trees, or when water levels are too low to ski. But there is hope... If they qualify.
"Money from the government could be their lifeline and it's money that many business owners don't even know is available," says Linda Nelson, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration of Arkansas.
"Every single county is in the red. And that's not a pretty color right now because of what it means," says Nelson. The "red" she talks about is the drought index, and for many, not just farmers, it's lead to bank accounts also in the red.
Nelson says the low-interest EIDL are designed for small businesses and non-profits that have been indirectly affected by this year's drought.
"Even the fireworks people. Who had to buy ahead of time and then there were bans on when they would have normally sold most of their materials." says Nelson.
Businesses that can qualify are those that depend on higher water levels or those who can't have their workers out in the extreme heat of the day.
John Gaudin is co-owner of the Argenta Market in North Little Rock. He wasn't aware this loan was available but agrees it could be a huge help to fellow small businesses.
"Often times when disasters hit-, particularly like the drought, where it's affecting the farmers and local food, there's typically a gap in service and there's a need there whether it's small workforce help, or for your product. I think it can affect in a big way either one of those," says Gaudin.
But as with any loan, there are guidelines. "We look at credit history but we're a little more lenient because, again, we are trying to get money flowing back into the community. And help small businesses survive through this," says Nelson.
If you need more information about if you qualify and what to next you can learn and apply here.