May 28, 2010
Today’s Federal Register included the interim final rule for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), one of NSAC’s 2008 Farm Bill priority program. The interim rule goes into effect on June 28, 2010, but the USDA will be taking public comments until July 27, 2010.
RMAP is a new program created in the 2008 Farm Bill to provide entrepreneurs in rural areas with the skills to establish new businesses and continue operation of existing rural microenterprises. It provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs), which in turn provide technical services and distribute microloans to rural microentrepreneurs.
NSAC expects that the Notice of Funds Available (NOFA) will be announced in the next week or two. There is currently $13 million available for awards to MDOs. That funding amount is combined from fiscal years 2009 and 2010.
We are delighted the interim rule is finally out and that the NOFA will not be far behind. However, that delight is tempered by the fact the interim rule has major flaws with respect to the technical assistance and training elements of the program that could hamper its effectiveness.
We will be issuing an alert with talking points for public comments in the near future.
Public comments may be submitted online here; by mail to Branch Chief, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 0742, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250–0742; or by courier to Branch Chief, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 300 7th Street, SW., 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20024.