Organizations across the country advocate for Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Act

Small Towns

This blog is part of our “Farm Bill Bulletin” series, which provides intermittent updates on the development and status of our nation’s next farm bill.

Small business lenders from across the U.S. have joined the Center for Rural Affairs in support of the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Act of 2023. The bill—which was introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives this fall—calls for improvements to the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).

RMAP supports the development and ongoing success of rural small businesses through loans and technical assistance provided by Microentrepreneur Development Organizations (MDOs). Since RMAP was established in 2008, entrepreneurs and microenterprises in more than 45 states have received support through the program. This national footprint underscores the significance of RMAP to rural communities and has spurred MDOs from across the U.S. to join the Center in advocating for the bill.

In November, 46 organizations representing 28 states and Washington, D.C., sent a letter to top leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees asking them to support the legislation and the rural small businesses RMAP is designed to serve. In their leadership role, committee chairs often wield the most influence in setting a course of action for the committee, including the development of a new farm bill.

The letter was also shared with lawmakers representing each signee’s state or district to promote the bill. Once a bill is introduced in Congress, members are able to sign on to the legislation as a signal of their support. Before taking this step, however, many lawmakers seek out additional information, particularly how the proposed bill will affect their constituents and state. By working in coalition with MDOs, we are better able to educate lawmakers and provide local context that is essential to their decision-making process.

This collaborative effort is a strong example of small business lenders and technical assistance providers coming together to support rural communities.  As farm bill negotiations progress, we will continue to advocate for the bill with MDOs and congressional offices across the country. If successful, its components will be included in the final omnibus legislation.

We encourage you to contact your representative or senators to express support for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Act. If you do, please notify me by email at Click here to find contact information for your members of Congress.