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Posts tagged: Rural Business

How Can Rural Small Businesses Connect with USDA?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Small Business Connections is designed to provide small businesses and small farmer-owned cooperatives with the exposure and insight to help increase contracting participation with the federal government.  USDA’s continued commitment to broadening this access to contract opportunities stimulates small business ownership and economic growth, creates jobs, and results in improving the quality of life across America.

In support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to put Americans back to work and create an economy built to last, on Sept. 24 in Macon, Ga., the USDA Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization will host Rural Small Business Connections. This training event will provide small businesses with educational networking sessions and tips on how to successfully do business with USDA and other federal agencies. Read more »

Job Creation on Tap in Rural Oregon

Today, Deschutes Brewery operates a large-scale production facility pictured here in Bend, Oregon, along with brew pubs in Bend and Portland. (Photo used with permission)

Today, Deschutes Brewery operates a large-scale production facility pictured here in Bend, Oregon, along with brew pubs in Bend and Portland. (Photo used with permission)

When it comes to beer, Oregon is known far and wide as a hub of innovation and artistry or, as we locals call it, “beer-topia.” Since the 1980s, small breweries have been popping up across Oregon thanks to the state’s pristine water, abundant hops and grain fields, forward-thinking craft brewing policies, and talented foodies. In the process, Oregon’s brewers have tapped a powerful economic engine. According to the Oregon Brewers Guild, the state’s beer industry today generates $2.83 billion in economic activity in the state and employs 29,000.  And the future shows even more promise. The Brewers Association notes nationwide growth of the craft brewing industry in 2012 at 15 percent by volume and 17 percent by dollars.

Deschutes Brewery, Inc. is one of the pioneering businesses that helped establish the state’s craft brewing industry.  Gary Fish founded the company in 1988 with 12 employees and a brew pub in downtown Bend, Oregon.  By 1993, the increasing demand for their craft beers led Fish to build a separate brewery across town. With the added capacity, the company enjoyed increasing sales in a burgeoning market for artisanal products. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Energy Efficiency and the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced more than 630 new projects across the country under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  These new projects will help producers and businesses boost their bottom line, while increasing America’s energy security and protecting our environment.

Energy efficiency programs are a key part of the President’s overall plan to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate, while building our renewable energy capacity to support an all-of-the-above approach to America’s energy future.

Under the Obama Administration, USDA has used this program to support more than 7,000 energy efficiency projects. Many of these provided assistance on small and medium-sized farm and ranches, or in rural businesses. Read more »

USDA Partners With Service Organizations to Help Veterans Find Careers in Agriculture

Veterans returning home from overseas tours-of-duty face many challenges as they readjust to civilian life, and one of the most daunting ones is finding employment. Last year, a new program — the Soldiers to Civilians (S2C) Project — was started in rural west Tennessee to give local veterans the training and skills they need to enter into the field of precision agriculture. Thanks to grant assistance from the Department of Agriculture (USDA), project leaders will now be able to expand the S2C program beyond west Tennessee to help even more veterans living in the rural delta areas of east Arkansas and west Mississippi.

The expansion was funded, in part, through USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which promotes development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Lillian Salerno announced the award during a visit to the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a bioscience-oriented nonprofit organization that is a partner on the S2C project. Memphis Bioworks is one of more than 130 projects in 30 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico that are receiving RBEG funds. Read more »

USDA Support Helps Foundry Workers Save their Jobs

It has been nine years since the employees of the Mereen-Johnson Foundry banded together and risked their retirement savings in order to keep their jobs and secure a future for themselves and their families by buying the foundry.  Dakota Foundry, Inc. is a manufacturer of gray and ductile iron castings, located in Webster, South Dakota, and it was on the brink of closure until the employees stepped up to the plate. Read more »

Rural Business Booms in York, PA

Alan Shortall, CEO of Unilife headquartered in York, PA.

Alan Shortall, CEO of Unilife headquartered in York, PA.

Alan Shortall recently hosted Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and a White House Business Council roundtable at his company’s headquarters in York, Penn. Alan’s company, Unilife, was the recipient of a USDA Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan. His story is proof that public and business sectors can work together to bring about change in rural America.

I was recently honored to host a roundtable discussion between the White House Business Council and local business leaders from York, PA. This meeting and similar roundtable discussions now taking place across the country are an excellent initiative by the Obama Administration as it provides a direct line of communication between employers from across the U.S and senior members of the Federal Government. Read more »