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USDA Administrator Says Millions of Dollars in Federal Loan Guarantee Funds Available for Small Business Development

Judith Canales, Administrator of USDA Rural Development Business Programs, Curt Wiley, Chief of Staff, and Pandor Hadjy, Deputy Administrator, visited Atlanta recently to meet with State Directors, Business Program Directors, and Business loan specialists from 15 states and two territories in an effort to identify ways to streamline business and industry loan processing. This was one of four regional meetings around the nation.

“We know rural businesses need these funds,” said Shirley Sherrod, state director in Georgia. “We are encouraging lenders to bring us good loans and encouraging businesses in need of funds to approach lenders. We absolutely can help with the credit issues out there that many businesses are complaining about. We have capital. We want to put to work in rural Georgia.”

Business and Industry guaranteed loans are available to private businesses to create or expand businesses in qualifying rural areas of the United States. The goal is to create and save jobs in rural areas. Loans are made through local lenders with a guarantee of up to 90 percent of the loan. A substantial amount of business guarantee funding is available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but it must be obligated for projects by the end of the current Federal  fiscal year.

“Our goal is to obligate 70 percent of Recovery Act funds by April 16,” Canales said. “Some states have exceeded that but most have not. We need to know where problems are so we can streamline processing. We must get these funds obligated before midnight on September 30, 2010.”

Represented at the Atlanta meeting were the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virgin Islands and Minnesota.

Curt Wiley, USDA Business Programs Chief of Staff, Georgia Rural Development State Director Shirley Sherrod (center) and Business Programs Administrator Judith Canales address a business program regional meeting in Atlanta
Curt Wiley, USDA Business Programs Chief of Staff, Georgia Rural Development State Director Shirley Sherrod (center) and Business Programs Administrator Judith Canales address a business program regional meeting in Atlanta

Georgia USDA Rural Development State Director Shirley Sherrod welcomes the group to Georgia
Georgia USDA Rural Development State Director Shirley Sherrod welcomes the group to Georgia

For more information on B&I loans, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/b&i_gar.htm.

In Georgia, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ga.

Written by E. J. Stapler,  Public Information Coordinator, Georgia

2 Responses to “USDA Administrator Says Millions of Dollars in Federal Loan Guarantee Funds Available for Small Business Development”

  1. james bankston says:

    , this is a request for Alcorn University to facilitate presentation of the benefits of USDA programs available to Historically Under served Farmers and Ranchers in Mississippi (HU). There is planned a meeting, hosted by Willie T, with Black Farmers in Vicksburg on 21 September 2010 to address these issues. Hopefully Alcorn can provide a representative and or brochures describing the programs available and how to apply.

    It is apparent the Black HU’s in Warren County are not aware of their rights to access USDA HU programs. It has come to my attention some managers at USDA in Warren County have denied Black Farmers access to the HU programs because they personally believed the program was was but reverse discrimination.

    Education will preclude discrimination by the enlightened asserting their rights.

    Subject: &Black Farmers in Warren county, MISS

    DEFINE THE ISSUE (S):

    Mr. T_ alleges he is being harassed non-sexual because of his race (African American), and through reprisal for previous EEO activity. Mr. _ alleges that his 1st and 2nd level supervision has been going back over his projects, most recently on June 16, 2010, and have been questioning and harassing the black farmers and the black contractors; especially black farmers that used black contractors.

    Mr. T_ also stated that his 1st and 2nd level supervision has gone over several of his projects for no other reason but to destroy his credibility and character by trying to find fault in his work and to harass the Black farmers and contractors associated with the projects he has completed.

    In addition Mr. T stated that his supervision is withholding Federal Assistance from USDA to the Black farmers and Black contractors on projects that he has completed and are actually threatening the Black farmers and Black contractors to coerce and force them to implicate him in a kick-back scheme which is a totally false accusation created by his supervisor.

    Mr. T also states that his supervision has removed him from his present location and forced him to work in a rural area creating a hardship for him and preventing him from implementing the programs available to all farmers regardless of their race.

    EEO INQUIRY:

    Mr. T (June 29, 2010)

    Mr. T stated that one of the Black farmers questioned was asked by Mr. J how did he find out about the Environment Quality Incentive Program EQIP. He stated that Mr. J’s questions indicated to him that he was surprised that he was aware of the program and should not have known of the programs offered by USDA.

    Mr. T alleges that his supervisor does not want the Black farmers and contractors to know about or utilize the programs offered by USDA. He stated because the Black farmers have been utilizing the programs successfully his supervisor is inappropriately resentful of them for their race as Blacks are historically denied equal access and treatment by USDA. The bigotry of Mr. J has compelled him to harass and intimidate by investigating Mr. T’s projects associated with these programs by withholding or delaying payments and asking farmers and contractors manipulative and misleading questions fraught with threats that are direct and implied in an effort to implicate him and Black farmers and contractors in some type of wrong doings.

    Mr. T alleges another reason his supervisor is trying to implicate him into some type of wrong doing is because he does not like the fact that black contractors have been awarded EQIP contracts. He states for years his supervisor has been steering predominance of EQIP work to contractors who are his friends. He stated that the majority of the contracts associated with the EQIP programs have been awarded to white contractors that are his supervisor’s friends.

    Mr. T stated that his supervisor initiated an Inspector General (IG) complaint and rode around with the inspector to literally direct the inspector specifically where he wanted him to investigate in an attempt to skewer the investigation to falsely implicate Mr. Taylor on some unspecified charges of wrong doing.

    Mr. T stated that his supervisor went back to the Black farmers’ property five to six times asking questions in an effort to steer them in the direction that he wanted them to go. One of the farmers stated and will support that he regretted ever being involved in the project after being harassed repeatedly by Mr. Joyner and denied payment for the completed EQIP project on his farm.

    Mr. T stated on June 16, 2010, three white members of his supervision met on the property of one of the Black farmers that he completed an EQIP project on over two years ago. He stated it is general common courtesy if you are going to visit or inspect a farmer’s property to call and inform the farmer of your expected visit. He stated the farmer had no idea that someone was visiting his property. He stated the farmer was out conducting business and happened to see members from his supervision out on his property. He stated when the farmer approached and questions the men they did not respond to him. He stated the farmer called him and questioned why there were members from his supervision on his property looking at a project that was completed by him over two years ago.

    Mr. T stated that it is disrespectful for members of his supervision to visit a farmer’s property without informing the farmer of the visit. He stated that, to his knowledge, this only happens with the black farmers, particularly the ones in which he has completed projects for that had used black contractors but never with the white farmers. He stated that there has been several other meetings on black farmers properties similar to this one where his supervision has went back to inspect work that he has completed by him with the black farmers. He stated that this is very unusual and he has never seen his supervision meet with a three person panel on a white farmers property to conduct an inspection of anyone else’s work and especially on a project that has been completed for over two years.

    Mr. T stated that one Black farmer was told that if payment is made for the project it is a possibility that he may have to pay the money back for the project to discourage the contractor and coerce the contractor to implicate Mr. T in, presumptively, some illegal scheme imagined by his supervisor, Mr. J. He stated that the USDA revoking payment tended by a farmer for an EQIP project to a contractor, to his knowledge, has never been remanded or paid back to USDA. He stated that the EQIP program is not a loan to the contractor nor the farmer; therefore they do not have to pay the money back for a completed project. He stated that this was told to the black farmer and contractor simply as a scare tactic and to try to coerce the farmer into making false statements against him.

    Mr. T stated during the same meeting a Black contractor who constructed the project for a farmer was told that his bank account maybe audited to see where the money was going for the project he completed. He stated they do not have the authority to audit the contractor’s bank account or his disbursement of funds: This was another example of harassment and a scare tactic to coerce and extort the contractor into making false claims against him and to intimidate the Black contractor from contracting work under the EQIP programs.

    Mr. T stated that Mr. J was actually threatening the Black farmers in order to force them to implicate him by withholding their Federal assistance from USDA. He stated that a number of the Black farmers have not been timely paid nor paid at all for their EQIP projects that have been completed and certified as completed satisfactorily. He stated one Black farmer finished his project last year and still has not been paid. He states another Black farmer’s project cleared in August and they did not get paid until January. He states yet another Black farmer’s project cleared in May and they still have not gotten paid. He stated the Average white farmer is paid within five to seven working days and to his knowledge no White farmer has not gotten paid or has been delayed as the Black farmers have been.

    After these issues were identified additional information was bought to my attention by witnesses and refreshed my memory about Mr. J wanting to supplant or replace me with a caucasian that is a friend of his that cannot be promoted without I being terminated or transferred to another area. Mr. J has also complained to all employees about a photo of President Obama.

    Additionally, Mr. J has objected to Historically Underserved Black Farmers (HU) that self identified on NRCS-CPA-1200 application as Socially Disadvantaged Farmers or Ranchers as receiving the benifits of the USDA program as a form of REVERSE DISCRIMINATION and directed Willie T to alter their applications and contracts to receive REGULAR contracts that pay 75% instead 90% for HU’s. After the contracts were altered and the work on several contracts were completed or progressing Mr. Joyner proceeded to harass the Black Farmers and Black Contractors by investigating contracts he had personally approved. The farmer’s property were visited several times with Mr. J trying to implicate the farmers and contractors and Mr. T in an imaginary kick back scheme involving USDA funded projects.

    The USDA officials engaged the OIG in his investigation or persecution of Mr. T and the farmers by taking OIG investigators to farm sites to skewer the investigation with his false representations of fact that is driven by his racial bigotry.

    The discrimination against Black Farmers is based on racist animus which is typical of the adverse treatment of Blacks by USDA at the grass roots level of USDA. Upper levels of management at USDA suborn this disparate treatment by doing nothing to suppress the bigoted employees acting out their personal prejudice in their official capacity at USDA.

    An investigation of these issues have been requested of the OIG and an EEO complaint is in the Informal stage and we are arranging a meeting with as many of the Black Farmers as possible and will photograph the projects in question for use in the EEO case against USDA.

  2. James E. Bankston says:

    To Mr. Pearle Reed@nrcs
    Mr. Reed NRCS employee, Willie P. Taylor in Warren County Mississippi needs your intervention in addressing discrimination of race and retaliation and harassment for whistle blowing for exposing his supervisors denying access to EQIP programs and intentional denial of classification as Historically Underserved.
    Mr. Taylor’s managers, Joyner and Kennedy have manufactured allegations of extortion of Black Farmers and their Black contractor resulting in a skewed OIG investigation which harassed the Black farmers by demanding access to their bank accounts and copies of instruments of payment to their contractor to see if Mr. Taylor was paid by them or their contractor. When there was no evidence of corruption revealed Mr. Taylor’s supervisors inspected all EQIP projects of Black farmers designed by Mr. Taylor but not of White farmers to declare fault in his designs that had been approved by area engineers and accused him of certifing Black farmers projects that were not completed although engineers had declared them completed.
    The Black farmers were approved and paid except for one project. This project too was completed but the managers lied about the previous project not being on the ground although it had too been certified by engineers and paid.
    Mr. Taylor informed atleast nine Black farmers in Warren County their EQIP projects had been intentionally changed from HU to regular status by his supervisors because they personally considered that classification for Blacks as reverse discrimination. Mr. Taylor requested assistance from Alcorn University in informing the Black farmers of USDA programs and their right to appeal the adverse decisions on their EQIP projects resulting in atleast eight appeals and up grade to HU status for payments.
    Out of retaliation his managers with approval of the State Conservationist issued Mr. Taylor a letter of intent to terminate his employment contingent on his redress of the accusations fabricated to dismiss him in the next five days. We can prove he was falsely accused but his bigoted supervision will not likely accept the facts when presented to them. MR. Taylor needs access to the EQIP records of the the Black farmers he has been accused of not completing which have been locked up to prevent his having access to prove he is not guilty of the profferedallegations.
    The reason his supervision started this campaign against Mr. Taylor was due to his signing up Black farmers for EQIP and their using a black contractor which denied their white cronies the contracts to perform work on the EQIP projects. His supervisor had steered most contracts on EQIP to the Muirheads and other White cronies but the Black farmers used a Black contractor which made the biased supervisors angry.
    It is alleged Mr. Taylors supervisors had approved EQIP projects for trailer parks and drive ways of white cronies and recently destroyed records in the Warren County office
    to probably cover up for corrupt practices.
    The state Conservationist, Homer Wilkes, had threatened to fire Mr. Taylor in a meeting with Black farmers to address discrimination in EQIP HU classification. Mr. Wilkes has a history of suborning discrimination by his White managers against Black USDA employees and Black farmers and has used inequity of power to misrepresent the facts to protect his racially bigoted managers and seems to exhibit racist animus against people of color although he, on the face of the matter, would be identified as a Negro or Black male.
    During teleconference appeals of denial of classification of Black farmers Mr. Taylor’s second level supervisor denied Mr. Taylor administrative leave and directed him to take annual leave when he was an official witness representing the agency because he told the truth about his immediate supervisor directing him to change the status of the appealants in the computer from HU to regular.
    James E. Bankston, Representative

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