07/13/2011 10:42 am ET | Updated Sep 12, 2011

Sen. Michael Bennet Announces 10 Colorado Counties Eligible For Natural Disaster Relief Due To Ongoing Drought

If you live in northeastern, and much of central, Colorado it's hard to imagine that there could be a severe drought going on anywhere in this state with severe thunderstorms and flash flood watches weekly, but that is exactly what is happening in several southeastern Colorado counties.

As of Monday, small non-farm businesses in ten Colorado counties affected by ongoing drought are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced. The loans are available to help offset the losses in revenue that many of these businesses have faced during this severe drought period that began January 1, 2011.

The affected counties are Baca, Bent, Crowley, El Paso, Kiowa, Las Animas, Lincoln, Prowers, Pueblo, and Otero. Bennet spoke about the need for relief in this drought stricken counties, according to Bennet's press release:

Small businesses are the drivers of our economy, especially in our rural communities. In these tough economic times it's more important than ever that these small businesses get the relief they need as farmers and ranchers affected by this drought weather the economic storm. I encourage all eligible small business owners to enroll in this assistance from the SBA.

This comes just weeks after Gov. John Hickenlooper requested drought assistance for these southeaster Colorado counties that have been especially hard-hit by the ongoing drought conditions, The Huffington Post reported back in June.

Businesses interested applying for the emergency loans can visit SBA's application website or visit the main SBA website for more information on disaster assistance.

According to the Bennet press release, the deadline to apply for these loans is February 24, 2012