Nebraska small businesses band together to support farm bill program

Eleven Nebraska small businesses, in support of the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) in the 2018 farm bill, signed and sent a letter to Nebraska Congressional Representatives and Senators this month.

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.


August 29, 2018

To the members of the U.S. House and Senate,

We are writing, as small businesses in Nebraska, to ask for your support in funding the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). We share a common interest in protecting and preserving RMAP in the farm bill. We understand the challenges that entrepreneurs and small businesses face, and recognize the impact that programs like RMAP have on the lasting success of those businesses.

We know that many small businesses struggle to access credit due to the absence of local banks in rural areas. In fact, the percentage of rural areas without a local bank has increased from 12 percent to 32 percent in the past two decades. This severely limits credit to small and emerging businesses that need financing for working capital and equipment expenses in order to grow. RMAP helps microentrepreneurs overcome this hurdle by providing fixed interest rate microloans of less than $50,000 to small businesses that could not obtain sufficient credit or training.

RMAP isn’t just a lender. The training and technical assistance enabled by RMAP is also important to us. As you know, starting and running a businesses in rural Nebraska can come with unique challenges. Often, the quality and availability of guidance is the make-or-break factor for staying in business.  RMAP offers essential one-on-one training to rural small businesses in marketing, management, and technical assistance.

With only $3 million annually in mandatory funding since 2014, RMAP has facilitated 2,100 small businesses in expanding operations, creating jobs, and tapping into new markets. Recently, a group of nearly thirty RMAP grantees from across the nation came together to ask for support in funding the program in the farm bill. We are asking you to do the same.

In order to bring back busy main streets in small town U.S.A., we need to dedicate funds to loan capital, business planning, marketing development, and other services to rural entrepreneurs in struggling communities. Without programs like RMAP, entrepreneurs and business owners face barriers that may impede their abilities to start and maintain successful small businesses.

We, the undersigned small businesses in Nebraska, ask that you support and restore RMAP funding in the farm bill.

Respectfully,

  • 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
  • Yardworx Lawn and Landscape, Lincoln

Feature photo: The Frederick Hotel in Loup City, Nebraska, in August 2017. | Photo by Rhea Landholm