Jan. 22, 2007 -- The Small Business Administration is offering federal disaster loans to small businesses in Illinois hit by drought early last year, the agency announced last week.

The low-interest loans of up to $1.5 million are available to businesses based on size, business type, and financial resources, the agency said.

Under the terms of the disaster declaration, farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers are not eligible for the loans, the agency said.

Meanwhile, homeowners and small businesses in New York's Broome and Chenango counties that were damaged by severe floods last November have until Feb. 20 to apply for loans to cover physical damages, the agency said.

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