Rural Development


Small rural businesses are vital to sustaining rural jobs and economies, but starting and growing them isn’t easy. Our nation’s rural development policies have the opportunity to revitalize agricultural communities in an equitable manner, one that provides meaningful employment and gives people a lasting stake in their communities.

Small-scale entrepreneurship is the one economic development strategy that consistently works in rural communities: over half of all new jobs created in the most rural areas come from small, non-farm business ventures.

Investing in rural development creates and retains jobs, sustains rural populations, and builds vibrant communities.

NSAC led advocacy efforts that resulted in the 2014 Farm Bill making continued investments in the future of rural America, including $63 million for the Value Added Producer Grant Program and $15 million for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.

This section of our guide provides an overview of the key federal programs focused on rural economic development, including programs for small businesses supporting locally and regionally produced foods (such as the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program’s Local and Regional Food Enterprise Provision) as well as programs available to community-based organizations and institutions working on the ground to provide technical assistance and capital to rural entrepreneurs.