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Disaster relief loans available for Michigan businesses hurt by lack of snow

downtown gaylord
Small businesses in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula can apply for federal relief if the lack of snow has impacted their finances. (Bridge photo by Kelly House)
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared 42 counties drought disaster areas due to lack of snow  
  • Small businesses in the Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan can apply for federal relief 
  • Businesses can apply for loans up to $2 million

Ski resorts, cozy cabins and other small businesses impacted by the lack of snow this winter can apply for federal funding from the Small Business Administration as the state is experiencing one of its warmest winters on record.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a drought in 42 counties, and small businesses in the affected counties can apply for emergency loans from the Small Business Administration that may offset business losses.

"Michiganders are used to tough winters, but this year’s record-setting warm winter has been tough in a different way, causing economic hardships for small businesses and regional economies that rely on snow,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a statement.

 “I know how hard this winter has been on families and communities who rely on winter tourism revenue and all the associated business that comes with it — hotels, restaurants, and shops. Fortunately, businesses in these 42 counties in the UP and the Northern Lower Peninsula can apply for support right now.” 


map about winter drought in Michigan

Sault Ste. Marie, Alpena and Gaylord are among a few cities that hit record-high temperatures of over 70 degrees on Feb. 27, according to the National Weather Service

    In the case of Sault Ste. Marie, the last time temperatures in February were that high was in 1921. While the warm weather can be a break from Michigan’s harsh winters, businesses that rely on months of cold temperatures and piles of snow to make it through the season are negatively impacted. 

    “This has been a challenging winter all across the state but we will persevere, and even with the mild temperatures, many Michigan ski areas are still open to welcome guests,” said Mickey MacWilliams, president and executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association in a statement. 

    Eligible small businesses can apply for a loan of up to $2 million to help meet financial needs and won’t have to pay interest on the loan for the first year.

    More information about how to apply can be found here.  Business owners can also contact the Small Business Administration’s customer service center (800) 659-2955 or send an email to for more information about drought disaster relief. 

    Drought relief loan application deadlines*

    Alcona –  9/26/2024 

    Alger – 9/26/2024 

    Alpena – 8/12/2024 or 9/26/2024  

    Antrim – 8/12/2024 

    Arenac –  8/12/2024 

    Bay – 8/12/2024 

    Benzie – 8/12/2024 

    Charlevoix – 8/12/2024 

    Cheboygan – 8/12/2024 or 9/26/2024 

    Clare – 8/12/2024 

    Crawford – 8/12/2024 or 9/26/2024 

    Delta – 9/26/2024 

    Dickinson – 11/27/24 

    Emmet – 8/12/2024 

    Gladwin – 8/12/2024 

    Gogebic – 5/13/2024 

    Grand Traverse – 8/12/2024 

    Gratiot – 8/12/2024 

    Iosco – 9/26/2024 

    Iron – 5/13/2024 

    Isabella – 8/12/2024 

    Kalkaska – 8/12/2024 

    Leelanau – 8/12/2024 

    Luce – 9/26/2024 

    Mackinac – 8/12/2024 or 9/26/2024 

    Manistee – 8/12/2024 

    Marquette – 9/26/2024 

    Mecosta – 8/12/2024 

    Menominee – 9/26/2024 

    Midland – 8/12/2024 

    Missaukee – 8/12/2024 

    Montmorency – 8/12/2024 or 9/26/2024 

    Ogemaw – 8/12/2024 or 9/26/2024 

    Ontonagon – 5/13/2024 

    Osceola – 8/12/2024 

    Oscoda – 8/12/2024 or 9/26/2024 

    Otsego – 8/12/2024 or 9/26/2024 

    Presque Isle – 8/12/2024 or  9/26/2024 

    Schoolcraft – 9/26/2024 

    Roscommon – 8/12/2024 

    Saginaw – 8/12/2024

    *If there are two drought declarations in one county, businesses can apply before either deadline.

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