- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Farmers hit by the drought gripping central Mississippi are now eligible for federal aid.

The U.S. Small Business Administration says it’s offering low-interest disaster loans to small businesses and nonprofit organizations following a drought declaration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Loans can be up to $2 million for nonprofit organizations and small businesses, lasting up to 30 years.

Mississippi counties included in the disaster area are Attala, Claiborne, Copiah, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leake, Leflore, Madison, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, Sunflower, Warren, Washington and Yazoo.

The area has seen little rainfall since July. As of Tuesday, parts of seven central Mississippi counties were experiencing extreme drought, according to National Drought Mitigation Center. The National Weather Service predicts little or no rain for the region next week.

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