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USDA Business Programs Administrator Promotes Job Opportunities at Nebraska Conference

USDA Rural Business-Cooperatives programs  Administrator Judith Canales was the luncheon speaker earlier this week to a crowd of nearly 100 at the Rural Jobs, Rural Opportunities conference hosted by Nebraska Rural Development in Kearney. The conference was a follow up to the Rural Jobs Forum held early in January.

At the January Jobs Forum, the critical elements identified for Nebraska were the rural economy, cutting edge technology, youth retention, community investment, business education and training, the creation of better paying jobs, and financial resources offered by local, state and federal agencies.   To move the discussion forward on these issues, panel experts at the March 29 conference discussed broadband, local foods, eco tourism, guaranteed loans/access to credit, business opportunities/business transition, renewable energy, revolving loan funds and local funding for community economic development.

Administrator Canales also led a roundtable discussion with economic developers and lenders at the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, where the details and benefits of the Business and Industry programs and funding available to businesses through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were discussed.  Nebraska lenders provided suggestions to Ms. Canales on improvements that might be made to the Business and Industry programs to increase its use in rural Nebraska.

Co-conveners for the conference included the Nebraska Rural Development Commission, Nebraska Cattlemen, U.S. Forest Service, Nebraska Community Foundation, Heartland Center for Leadership Development, Nebraska Rural Initiative, and the Nebraska Resource Conservation and Development. 

 Ms. Canales and Nebraska RD State Director Maxine Moul also provided interviews to two TV stations, the daily newspaper and two radio stations.

By Nebraska Rural Development Public Information Officer Vicki A. Schurman

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

In Georgia, visit

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

USDA Administrator Says to New Mexico, “Your Business is Our Business and Our Business is Your Business.”

New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner welcomed USDA Rural Development Administrator of Business and Cooperative Programs Judy Canales to Albuquerque earlier this month to kick off a two day training session for Rural Development staff and lenders from across the state.

After being introduced to our staff by the State Director, Administrator Canales said, “This is a fantastic time for New Mexico to provide more business because of the funds that have been made available through the Recovery Act.” To make her point Canales, added, “I had a meeting on Tuesday in Texas with 60 lenders and some of them told me they are very interested in doing business here in New Mexico.”

Canales told the RD staff she is traveling the nation meeting with lenders and other RD staff with a very simple message. “Your business is our business.  And, our business is your business.”  That morning Administrator Canales and State Director Brunner held a meeting with 22 local lenders and venture capital firms to discuss the advantages of using the B & I Guaranteed Loan Program.

Later in the day 22 staff members assigned to business programs from across New Mexico attended an intensive business workshop taught by Jeff Jobe an RD national business field advisor from Iowa.  Jobe gave the staff a large binder full of information on the B&I Guaranteed Loan program and the REAP Program which promotes energy efficient projects in rural America.

The staff attending the workshop asked Jobe questions about the B&I Guaranteed loan program from initial inquiries to filling out the various forms and paperwork. Special thanks go out to New Mexico USDA Rural Development Business Programs staff who helped organize the training.  For more information about B&I Loan Guarantees click here.

New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner
New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner welcomes Administrator Judith Canales to New Mexico to kick-off staff and lender training. During his welcome Mr. Brunner presented Ms. Canales with a basket full of New Mexico grown agriculture products.

New Mexico State Terry Brunner
New Mexico State Director Terry Brunner greets staff during the RBS programs training session.

Submitted by Ernie Watson, USDA Rural Development-New Mexico