November 10, 2011
On November 9th, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 35 rural micro-development organizations in 22 states to receive loans and grants to support rural business development, create jobs, and strengthen local communities.
“These investments will bring increased economic opportunity to rural residents and communities,” said Vilsack. “They will help organizations expand job and economic opportunities in rural communities across the nation.”
The funding is being administered through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). This program funds development organizations that make loans to microenterprises and microentreprenuers and provide business-based training and technical assistance to rural micro-borrowers are eligible to receive support. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan and grant agreement.
RMAP has received both mandatory farm bill funding during the 2008 Farm Bill cycle and discretionary funding through the annual agricultural appropriations bill. The pending agricultural appropriations bill for FY 2012, however, has zero funding for the program in the House-passed bill and no additional appropriated dollars above the $3 million in farm bill mandatory funding in the Senate-passed bill. A final House-Senate bill is expected to be voted on next week.
Funding for RMAP is also an issue in the new farm bill being drafted for consideration by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction next week. It is not yet clear how much mandatory funding RMAP will receive during the next five-year farm bill cycle.
Several of the micro-development organizations that were selected to receive FY 2011 funding include:
To see the full listing of RMAP funding recipients, please visit the USDA press release of the announcement.