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Rural Opportunity Investment Conference

As part of the Obama Administration's new "Made in Rural America" export and investment initiative, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the creation of a new investment fund that will help propel the growth of small businesses across rural America. The new Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) will now allow USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses. Currently, USDA programs exist to help provide loans or loan guarantees to help rural businesses grow, but many small cutting-edge businesses also need equity support in addition to or instead of borrowed funds. This new partnership will allow USDA to facilitate private investment in businesses working in bio-manufacturing, advanced energy production, local and regional food systems, improved farming technologies and other cutting-edge fields. One of USDA's top priorities is to help reenergize the rural economy, and the new RBIC fund provides a powerful new tool to help achieve that goal.

The White House Rural Council, as part of the Made in Rural America initiative, will convene the Rural Opportunity Investment Conference later this year to attract additional investments to rural America by connecting major investors with rural business leaders, government officials, economic development experts and other partners. This conference will promote opportunities to invest in rural America by highlighting successful projects in energy, biofuels and bioproducts, infrastructure, transportation, water systems, telecommunications, health care, manufacturing, and local and regional food systems.

We will update this page with more conference details as they become available.

About the White House Rural Council

To address challenges in Rural America, build on the Administration's rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council. The Council coordinates the Administration's efforts in rural America by streamlining and improving the effectiveness of federal programs serving rural America; engage stakeholders, including farmers, ranchers, and local citizens, on issues and solutions in rural communities; and promoting and coordinating private-sector partnerships. With the signing of the Farm Bill in early February, President Obama directed the Council to lead a new "Made in Rural America" export and investment initiative, charged with bringing together Federal resources to help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities and access new customers and markets abroad. The work of the White House Rural Council and USDA to bring investment to rural America is an example of how the Administration is creating smart partnerships with the private sector to better support Americans in all parts of the country.

FAQs - Public Private Partnerships for Rural Infrastructure

Earlier this year the White House Rural Council convened the inaugural Rural Opportunity Investment Conference (ROI) to promote the investment opportunities that exist throughout rural America. At the event the Rural Council announced a new public private partnership to drive more investment to rural infrastructure. This fund, the U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund, represents a new approach to catalyzing private investment in infrastructure projects in rural America. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the private fund.