Investing in Rural Recovery

After a long wait, it finally appears that USDA is poised to roll out the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program. It's a new program that will make grants to organizations that provide training, technical assistance or make small loans to new and existing rural small businesses with ten or fewer employees.

There are several reasons why the Center for Rural Affairs applauds this long-awaited, $13 million investment in rural America. First and foremost, because it is the right program to help rural entrepreneurs and their communities contribute to America's economic recovery. In most rural communities, a vast majority of new jobs are created in firms with fewer than ten employees. Entrepreneurship is where the rubber meets the road in rural economic development.

Of course, we're biased too. That's the second reason we are eager to see the program rolled out. We fought tirelessly to get this program in the 2008 farm bill and to secure funding for it. But our bias emanates from years of experience with rural entrepreneurial development on the ground. We know it works, and we know that rural communities across America have much to contribute to the recovery of our nation's economy.

We applaud USDA for finally implementing this program and we encourage everyone to join scores of rural entrepreneurs, economic developers and community leaders that are already following the progress of this crucial program on the Center's Renew Rural America webpages. For email updates on the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, click here.