Skip to main content

business and cooperative programs

USDA Offices in Delaware/Maryland and New York Host Meetings to Boost Lending to Rural Businesses

Last month, USDA Rural Development’s Delaware - Maryland State Office and the State Office staff in New York hosted roundtable discussions on Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) availability.  RLF programs are unique programs that provide funds to local and regional organizations to capitalize and operate revolving loan funds.  Revolving loan funds are used to assist with business financing and economic development activities to create and/or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities.  As such, these are programs that have great potential for meeting USDA’s rural economic mandate in a time of scarce federal funding.

Value Added Producer Grants Promote Improvements to Vermont Dairy, New Hampshire Sausage Operations

It was a snow day in New England, but up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, in the little town of Hardwick, several people were gathered at the VT Food Venture Center, a local food incubator, to sign USDA Value Added Grant papers for the new businesses they are starting up.

The Michaud family of East Hardwick is launching Kingdom Creamery of Vermont, LLC. out of their newly finished processing facility on their dairy farm.  They are producing ice cream, yogurt and a soft serve mix for local retailers. They received a USDA Value Added Producer grant for working capital purposes for marketing, processing and purchasing packaging and production inventory.

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.

Team RD Washington Gathers Feedback From Key Stakeholders To Improve Help In Regulatory Review

How do you garner valuable feedback from key partners and stakeholders from around your state?

Just ask and let them speak, which is what USDA Rural Development leadership did in Washington State when they convened a stakeholder outreach meeting in Olympia on July 29 to discuss Rural Development priorities for President Obama’s 2013 budget and 2012 Farm Bill.

“The importance of this Regulatory Reform Stakeholder outreach meeting cannot be understated,” said Mario Villanueva, USDA Rural Development Washington State Director. “We had a tremendous response and interest in this convening with about 70 stakeholders attending the interactive meeting.”

A Louisiana Bank Leverages USDA Rural Development Funds to Build a Hotel and Create Jobs

Recently, about 150 people came out to show their support for the new Hampton Inn & Suites of Marksville at their grand opening in Avoyelles Parish in Louisiana. USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence W. Hawkins joined Thomas G. Christopoulos (owner) along with representatives from Cenla Chambers of Commerce; Daniel Decuir, Marksville Mayor Pro Tem; and other dignitaries to introduce the new 77 room hotel to the city. The hotel will provide an estimated 15 new jobs for area residents.

“Rural Development will continue to invest in the development of our rural communities throughout the State of Louisiana," said State Director Hawkins. This new hotel will impact the Town of Marksville by creating jobs, furnishing accommodations for the overflow of visitors and it is the first brand name hotel to come to Marksville, Louisiana.

Administrator Judith Canales Speaks To Graduating Class of Texas A&M International University

As Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture- Rural Development’s Business and Cooperative Programs, I travel throughout the country, promoting the President’s and Secretary’s vision of revitalizing rural America.  Of the many talks that I have given this year, one of the most exciting and memorable moments for me occurred on Saturday, May 14, 2011, when I had the honor and privilege of giving two commencement speeches to graduating classes totaling 500 students at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) in Laredo, Texas.

As a native of south Texas, you can imagine how excited I was to have this opportunity to share my educational roots and professional experiences with these inspiring new graduates.  Many of these students are the first in their families to graduate from college; therefore, the experience was not only a major accomplishment for the graduates but a monumental achievement for their families who were present at this event.  So, as I shook the hands of each of the graduates as they came up on stage to receive their diplomas, I couldn’t help but think to myself how very proud I was of these students and their families.

USDA Rural Development Administrator talks Energy in Ohio

As America dedicates more resources to researching, developing and deploying new energy production technologies to help reduce its dependence on petroleum imported from abroad, positive discussions are occurring among energy industry leaders about the environmental and economic impact adopting these emerging technologies might have nationally.