Small Business Policy News

High Poverty Rate Persists on the Great Plains

The Center’s newest report on the 2010 Census – Poverty on the Great Plains – shows poverty rates are generally higher in rural portions of the study area. The report looked at county-level poverty rates in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and portions of Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.

Among states in the region, only Iowa’s rural counties had lower poverty rates than the other two county types.

Cutting Paperwork in Rural Development Programs

The paperwork burdens of USDA rural development programs have grown to the point that some small towns don’t even consider applying. At the same time, top USDA officials are complaining that recent staffing cuts have left them with too few people to administer their programs.

These two problems share a common solution – simplify programs so it’s easier for rural communities to apply, and USDA staff can spend less time sifting through paper.

Proven Program Helps Create Rural Jobs

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) is a new program administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In two short years, it has proven to be a solid job creator in rural America. The program provides loan capital and technical assistance grants to small business development organizations to make loans and provide support to startup and existing rural businesses.

RMAP loan funds are unique. They can be used to purchase real estate and allow for a loan term of up to 10 years. They are filling a previously unmet financial need.

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