October 7, 2011
On Monday, September 26, the Federal Register published a Request for Applications (RFA) for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). Applications for this program will be accepted on a rolling basis, with funding awarded once each Federal fiscal quarter.
Applications submitted now would normally be considered for awards in the first quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, i.e., between now and December. However, because Congress has not finished the agricultural appropriations bill for FY 2012 and is not likely to until the end of November at the earliest, the exact amount of total funding available has yet to be determined, and will not be made available until after funding allotments for the program have been decided upon by the appropriations committee.
In FY 2011, the total funding available was approximately $13.9 million, and this FY it will most likely be less due to deficit reduction measures.
RMAP is a USDA rural development program created by the 2008 farm bill that provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs). MDOs use these funds to distribute microloans and provide technical services to rural microentrepeneurs so they can establish new businesses and continue the operation of existing ones. Microenterprises may be, but do not have to be, food or agriculture-related. For additional program information, read NSAC’s overview of it here.