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Posts tagged: Jill Harvey

USDA and SBA Officials Discuss Job Creation and Business Investment Opportunities

Recently USDA Rural Development Administrator for Business and Cooperative Programs Judith Canales joined Small Business Administration (SBA) officials in Syracuse, New York, to discuss opportunities to promote rural small business investment and job creation.  The rural investment roundtable event was held at Dairylea Cooperative, Inc.

As part of the Startup America Initiative, SBA recently announced the creation of a $1 billion Impact Investment Fund through its Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program.  The Impact Fund will invest in distressed areas as well as in emerging sectors such as clean energy. SBA provides up to a 2 to1 match to private capital raised by this fund, partnering with private investors to target “impact” investments. Read more »

St. Regis Mowhak Tribe and Rural Development: A Historic Partnership

As we look back at successes of 2011, this MOU signing is one that I will remember. This summer, USDA Rural Development New York State Director Jill Harvey and St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Chiefs, Ronald Lafrance Jr, Randy Hart, and Mark Garrow came together to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU marked the first time Rural Development’s New York state office has been able to offer secured loans on Tribal Lands in New York.  This is truly a historic partnership between a federal agency and the St. Regis Mohawk tribe.

This MOU will enable USDA to offer all SFH Programs on St. Regis Mohawk lands to include:  Section 502 Direct, Section 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing, Section 504 Home Repair Loans and Grants and Self Help Housing.  Rural Development will now be able to finance the construction of new homes, as well as the acquisition and rehabilitation of existing homes for low and moderate income families on the Akwesasne tribal lands. Read more »

USDA Officials Plant a People’s Garden in Syracuse

USDA Rural Development (RD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff planted the first public “Peoples Garden” in New York State last week. Read more »

New York Economic Development Forum Draws an Overflow Crowd

USDA Rural Development and the Farm Services Agency sponsored the Rural New York Economic Development Forum earlier this month in Virgil, N.Y. we had an audience of about  60 business, government and economic development leaders.

We chose the Hope Lake Lodge as the location for the meeting because it is a great example of what USDA Rural Development can achieve. The five-story hotel– part of the Greek Peak Ski Resort – was financed in part by a $10 million Business and Industry (B&I) loan guarantee. Several attendees were surprised to discover Rural Development could finance such a facility and a few have already approached us to discuss specific projects the B&I program may be able to support.

Rep. Michael Arcuri was attending a high-speed rail press conference 80 miles away in Utica, N.Y. but opened the Forum with an address via telephone. Staff members from the offices of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Maurice Hinchey and Rep. Dan Maffei were in attendance. New York State Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, and staffers from the New York State Legislative Commission on Rural Resources were also present.

The leading barrier to job creation and economic development in rural New York was easily identified by the group. Almost everyone in attendance, whether in government or the private sector, felt the lack of access to capital combined with lenders’ risk aversion created the largest problem facing our state’s rural economy. Several other issues also were identified and included the lack of broadband and cellular telephone infrastructure – parts of rural New York have a paucity of cell towers. The need for streamlined, simplified application processes to federal and state grant and loan programs also was identified as a major issue, as was a general lack of information about Rural Development programs.  These issues, as well as several others, are discussed in the report we compiled for Secretary Vilscack.

All in all, I was happy with our first-ever job creation and economic development forum.  We had great attendance and received media coverage. The Forum has also provided us ideas for future events, such as the creation of a “co-funding” business team that would include our business program, the state’s primary economic development organization and other key stakeholders. Another idea we’ll examine is conducting smaller, industry-specific focus group discussions in various regions of the state.

New york Job forum

USDA Rural Development State Director Jill Harvey leads at the Rural New York Economic Development Forum.

Job forum New YorkMore than 60 business, industry, economic development and government
leaders attended the USDA-sponsored Rural New York Economic Development
Forum on job creation and economic development opportunities on Feb. 5.
The event was held at Hope Lake Lodge in Virgil, N.Y., which was
financed in part by a $10 million B&I loan guarantee.

By Jill Harvey, New York State Director, USDA Rural Development