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Help for businesses affected by the mild winter and lack of snow

Help for businesses affected by the mild winter and lack of snow

February 21, 2024 8:18 AM CDT

By: Brittney Merlot

MADISON, Wis. (CIVIC MEDIA) – Three additional Wisconsin counties have been added to the 67 counties eligible for a federal disaster loan program.

Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced on Tuesday that many Wisconsin businesses are eligible for a federal disaster loan program if they have suffered losses due to this year’s unusually mild winter, which lacked Wisconsin’s typical snowfall in many areas of the state.

This allows businesses in counties identified as drought disaster areas to be eligible for emergency loans to offset their business losses in those counties if their business loss is related to the drought. While Florence, Marinette, and Buffalo counties do not have a current drought designation, nor are they contiguous to any Wisconsin counties with current drought designations, the governor and Sen. Baldwin have worked to secure additional guidance from the SBA since the initial publication of this release, and due to those efforts, these counties are extended the same low snow drought analysis by the SBA. Application deadlines for businesses in these counties have been added below.

The National Weather Service reports that snowfall statewide has been 20 to 30 inches below normal this winter. In the Lake Superior snowbelt, generally across Ashland, Iron, and Vilas counties, snowfall was 40 to 70 inches below normal.

Impacted businesses in counties with a drought declaration can apply for the U.S. SBA Economic Impact Disaster Loans (EIDL). The loans are designed to help businesses get through emergency situations that have impacted their economic well-being. Under the EIDL program, businesses can borrow up to $2 million to cover their actual losses. Businesses pay no interest on the loan for the first year and a maximum rate of four percent for the rest of the loan period. In order to take advantage of the program, businesses must apply by the application deadline for their county, listed below.

Additional disaster assistance information at https://lending.sba.gov. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech-related disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX, 76155. Applicants may also contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation with their EIDL-related questions at EIDLInquiries@wedc.org 

Wisconsin counties may be covered by multiple declarations. The list below provides the latest available application deadline for covered counties.

Today, the governor says three additional counties will now be eligible: Florence, Marinette, and Buffalo counties. The governor and Sen. Baldwin worked to secure additional guidance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which has confirmed these counties will now be eligible for the federal disaster loan program, as well.

Gov. Evers and Sen. Baldwin have been advocating for the SBA to confirm this disaster coverage extends to businesses impacted by Wisconsin’s extraordinary winter conditions. Following those conversations, SBA has confirmed that they will consider business loss from recent low snowfalls over the winter months to be related to the drought and eligible for assistance. The lack of snow has impacted travel and recreation businesses that depend on it for activities such as downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

In addition, the governor and Sen. Baldwin are encouraging Wisconsinites to support Wisconsin businesses by taking advantage of the remainder of the winter season and connecting with Travel Wisconsin resources to find alternative activities in northern and central Wisconsin if their original plans are impacted by weather.

“The lack of snow we’ve experienced so far this winter has had serious economic impacts on folks and businesses, especially in our Northern counties, who rely on snow and winter weather to attract customers and be successful,” said Gov. Evers yesterday. “In partnership with Sen. Baldwin, my administration has been working with the federal Small Business Administration to ensure businesses in impacted counties are eligible for relief, and I’m glad to announce that our efforts have been successful. I encourage all eligible businesses to apply for these loans as soon as possible, and in the meantime, I encourage Wisconsinites to plan a trip, visit local businesses, and find other exciting ways to enjoy winter in Wisconsin in our beautiful Northern and Central communities.”

“In Wisconsin, our snowy winters are not just another season, but also a huge economic driver, particularly in the Northern part of the state. This year’s low snowfall has hit many Wisconsin businesses hard, and we need to do more to ensure they get some relief,” said Sen. Baldwin yesterday. “I was happy to partner with Governor Evers to successfully push the Biden administration to ensure Northern Wisconsin businesses impacted by this year’s low snowfall can get the support and help they need.”

Many counties in the state are already covered by a pre-existing disaster designation for drought from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Apply by April 8

  • Bayfield
  • Douglas

Apply by April 15

  • Sheboygan

Apply by April 29

  • Buffalo
  • Burnett
  • Kenosha
  • Racine

Apply by May 6

  • Barron
  • Brown
  • Calumet
  • Chippewa
  • Clark
  • Dunn
  • Eau Claire
  • Outagamie
  • Pepin
  • Pierce
  • Polk
  • Rusk
  • St. Croix 
  • Sawyer
  • Trempealeau
  • Washburn
  • Waupaca
  • Winnebago

Apply by May 13

  • Ashland
  • Langlade
  • Lincoln 
  • Marathon 
  • Menominee 
  • Oconto 
  • Shawano 
  • Taylor 

Apply by May 29

  • Forest 
  • Iron 
  • Oneida 
  • Price 
  • Vilas 

Apply by July 3

  • Florence
  • Marinette 

Apply by July 31

  • Adams 
  • Columbia 
  • Crawford 
  • Dane 
  • Dodge 
  • Fond du Lac 
  • Grant 
  • Green 
  • Green Lake 
  • Iowa 
  • Jackson 
  • Jefferson 
  • Juneau 
  • La Crosse 
  • Lafayette 
  • Marquette 
  • Monroe 
  • Portage 
  • Richland 
  • Rock 
  • Sauk 
  • Vernon 
  • Walworth 
  • Washington 
  • Waukesha 
  • Waushara 
  • Wood 

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