Saturday, November 24, 2012 is Small Business Saturday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, in partnership with the White House and the Small Business Administration, proudly supports this important effort by asking everyone to shop at small businesses whenever possible. Presently, there are 28 million small businesses throughout the United States, representing 44 percent of U.S. private sector payroll. These small businesses also create 2 out of every 3 new American jobs.
Through its Rural Business-Cooperative programs, USDA offers over a dozen loan guarantee, direct loan, and grant opportunities that support small businesses in communities throughout rural America. These programs help small businesses expand, purchase new equipment, receive training and technical assistance, and become energy efficient in their operation – which lowers operating cost, preserves the environment, and makes America less dependent on foreign fuel.
USDA, through its 47 Rural Development State Offices, also partners with lenders, local governments, Tribal groups, intermediaries, and cooperatives to help small businesses develop new products and expand into new markets.
On Saturday, November 24, 2012, please take time to thank the small business owners in your community for their contributions to the local economy by purchasing their products and services.
How USDA Helps Small Businesses:
In 2012, USDA Rural Development funded 244 small businesses nationwide through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP helps rural businesses, farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers use renewable energy technologies in their operations to reduce their energy consumption and costs.
For example, on October 19, 2012, Murray Farm, Ltd., located in Storm Lake, Iowa, received a $49,000 REAP grant to install wind turbines. These turbines will convert wind into electricity that will power the farm.
Also in 2012, 112 economic development organizations and utilities in 38 states received loans and grants through the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. These intermediaries will provide these funds to local businesses for projects that will create and retain jobs in rural areas.
In October 2012, Cooperative Development Services Inc., of Madison, Wisconsin, received a $175,000 RED-Grant that it will use to fund a center that will deliver outreach, educational, and technical assistance in the rural areas of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. This assistance will help small rural business expand, grow, and create new jobs.
These are just a few examples of the way USDA Rural Development proudly supports small businesses.
To hear comments from Secretary Tom Vilsack concerning Small Business Saturday click here.
To hear comments from Acting Administrator Salerno click here.