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#USDARoadTrip: Investments in Rural Business

Posted by Matthew Herrick, USDA Director of Communications in Rural
Feb 21, 2017
Trim Operator Roger Brown at Port City Group’s Port City Castings Corporation manufacturing high-pressure aluminum die-castings
Trim Operator Roger Brown at Port City Group’s Port City Castings Corporation manufactures high-pressure aluminum die-castings, mostly for the automotive industry, in Muskegon, M,. Port City Group boosted its employment by 12 percent over last year thanks to two Rural Business Guaranteed Loans totaling $9.6 million.

The fifth and final stop on our #USDARoadTrip is the backbone of our nation’s rural economy — rural business. By making historic investments and streamlining access to capital for enterprises of all sizes, USDA is helping to build a productive and dynamic rural landscape capable of supporting America’s workforce.

Local businesses foster growth and prosperity not only by creating jobs in our rural communities, but by improving the overall quality of life outside of our urban centers. Whether it’s manufacturing, service-based, retail, wholesale, or farming, when business is booming in rural cities and towns, it adds to the breadth and depth of these communities and provides more opportunities. When rural Americans can find jobs, access healthcare, and buy groceries locally rather than travel fifty miles round-trip to the nearest big city, it saves them time, expense and helps to stimulate both the local economy and the American economy as a whole. Our investments in rural businesses are a strategic investment in all Americans.

Ronela Zaragoza harvesting mint on the La Montanita Co-op Veteran Farm in Albuquerque, NM.
Ronela Zaragoza harvests mint on the La Montanita Co-op Veteran Farm in Albuquerque, NM on Monday, Jun. 11, 2013. The La Montanita Co-op Veteran Farm Project (VFP) funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Specialty Crop Grant program provides veterans workshops on sustainable farming practices, hands-on gardening and farming experience.

Did you know USDA has a task force specifically committed to serving veterans and military families? Many of America's veterans come from our rural communities and we want to make sure that after serving their nation, they come home to a world of opportunities in rural America. We understand those returning from active duty face many challenges, which is why we work to help veterans transition to long-term careers in farming, ranching and agriculture. From creating ways to put logistical training to work to enabling veterans to continue to serve their communities, many veterans agree farm business gives them purpose when returning home.

Last year, we also appointed USDA’s first Military Veterans Agriculture Liaison, Karis Gutter. Along with Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Harden, he recently met with 35 military veterans who now work as farmers and ranchers, and while each person had a unique story, the overarching message was clear — rural businesses are changing lives for the better. By creating a space for veterans and young families to return to rural America, we are building ladders of opportunity into the middle class for millions nationwide.

Over the last few weeks, we have taken you through different areas of rural America. Through our #USDARoadTrip we hope you’ve observed the hard work that USDA is doing in all 50 states.  From safe and affordable food, to rural utilities, to rural businesses and everything in between, USDA is fighting hard to ensure the best for all Americans through partnership, progress and promise.

Laurie Jo’s Southern Style Canning business owner’s daughter Mikelyn Bennett applying labels to pickled okra packaged at her mother’s business.
Laurie Jo’s Southern Style Canning business owner’s daughter Mikelyn Bennett applies labels to pickled okra packaged at her mother’s business in Norman Park, Colquitt County, GA. Laurie Jo Bennett was able to secure a USDA grant to help market her products.
Category/Topic: Rural