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Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Announces Small Business Development and Job Creation Support for Rural Pennsylvania

Recently, I joined USDA, Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook, employees of The Progress Fund, and several of their loan recipients for a funding announcement under  Rural Development’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).  RMAP was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and the program is already helping many small rural businesses.   Under the program, funds are provided to an intermediary who “re-lends” to entrepreneurs.   Deputy Under Secretary Cook announced that The Progress Fund, in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, has been awarded a loan and a grant through the program.  The Progress Fund has made more than 97 microloans in rural areas.  It is expected the assistance provided by this funding will help create or save over 22 jobs. Following the announcement, we all enjoyed products from Emerald Valley Artisans, including a test sample of the new Hills Tavern Blue cheese.

The Pottsville Area Development Corporation (PADCO) in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, has also been awarded a loan and a grant.  The technical assistance and financing provided by PADCO will help create or save 13 jobs.  PADCO has been operating in Pottsville since 1985.The Progress Fund and PADCO will use the funds to provide technical assistance and training to rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises.  Rural Development’s assistance to rural areas under this program includes loans and grants to microenterprises and microentrepreneurs, and business-based training and technical assistance grants to rural micro-borrowers and potential micro-borrowers. To learn more about this program please visit our website.

Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook meets with recipients of loans made possible through USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry program. L to R (Kara Kurz, Chef Dato’s Table, PJ Nied, Ligonier Country Inn, Sandra Younkin, Confluence Bed and Breakfast, John Dawes, Huntingdon Farm, (Front) Maggie Nied, Ligonier Country Inn, Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook, Alisa Fava-Fasnacht, Emerald Valley Artisans, and Thomas P. Williams, Pennsylvania Rural Development State Director

Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook meets with recipients of loans made possible through USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry program. L to R (Kara Kurz, Chef Dato’s Table, PJ Nied, Ligonier Country Inn, Sandra Younkin, Confluence Bed and Breakfast, John Dawes, Huntingdon Farm, (Front) Maggie Nied, Ligonier Country Inn, Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook, Alisa Fava-Fasnacht, Emerald Valley Artisans, and Thomas P. Williams, Pennsylvania Rural Development State Director

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