LYONS, NEBRASKA – As lawmakers prepare to negotiate the terms of the 2018 farm bill in conference, a group of 11 small businesses in Nebraska have signed a letter calling on Congress to fund the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).
The letter asks Congress to support and restore RMAP funding in the farm bill. The small business program did not receive direct mandatory funding by either the House or Senate versions of the farm bill.
“Rural businesses play an important role in our nation’s economy, and it is critical that Congress supports RMAP with mandatory funding,” said Cora Fox, policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. “A conservative investment in this program pays dividends for years to come on the main streets of small town U.S.A.”
RMAP provides access to loan capital through grants to organizations that provide training, technical assistance, or small loans to rural businesses nationwide. Since its creation in 2008, the program has helped 2,100 small businesses in nearly every state create jobs and generate economic returns for their local communities.
“Small businesses play a big role in rural towns, but these businesses often struggle to access credit and financial training,” said Anna Johnson, senior policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. “RMAP exists to address those gaps and open a path for rural businesses to establish, grow, and thrive, creating jobs and benefiting their local economies.”
The small businesses who addressed the letter to Congress in support of RMAP work with Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP), a small business development program that services Nebraska. RMAP is national in scope, and has been used in nearly every state. Both programs offer training, resources, and technical assistance to entrepreneurs in rural communities.
Funding for RMAP is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2018, unless renewed in the farm bill.
Nebraska small businesses signing the letter include:
Beatrice Mini Golf, Beatrice;
Big Green Tomato, Fort Calhoun;
Buzz Savories, LLC, Holdrege;
Creative Hands Preschool, LLC, St. Paul;
Decor Store, Kimball;
DeJoWa Diner, Stapleton;
Kris’s Country Art, Talmage;
Loup City Animal Clinic, Loup City;
Peck Diversity Services, LLC, Nebraska City;
The Frederick Hotel/DOT Cafe, Loup City; and
Yardworx Lawn and Landscape, Lincoln.
The letter can be found at cfra.org.