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USDA Announces Investments in Projects to Support Rural Prosperity, Facilitate Private Investments

August 06, 2015

Last week, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) held a special meeting that include approximately 100 investors and venture capitalists to help stimulate private sector investments in rural infrastructure projects with the potential to spur economic development in small towns and rural communities across the country. Through its U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund, the USDA has helped to facilitate the investment of nearly $161 million in private capital toward 22 critical water and community facilities projects in 14 states.

The U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund is part of a broader effort by USDA to rethink how to best leverage private sector resources and investments to spur economic prosperity across the country. Last year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the creation of a $150 million privately funded Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC), which has already made three investments in rural businesses with high-growth potential. Earlier this year, Secretary Vilsack announced the launch of two additional new privately funded RBICs that also will make investments in high-growth companies. Read the announcement…

Recently, the USDA also announced $18.1 million in loans and grants for 92 projects worth $18.1 million to help support the startup or expansion of rural small businesses through:

  • The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program – USDA provides grants or zero-interest loans through the REDLG program to utilities that in turn fund projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. Approximately $11.7 million was awarded to 18 REDLG recipients.
  • The Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) – loans are provided to local organizations (intermediaries) for the establishment of revolving loan funds to spur economic activity and employment in rural communities. Approximately $2.5 million for three IRP recipients.
  • The Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program – grants designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas. USDA is awarding 71 RBDG grants totaling approximately $4 million.

Read the announcement…

Learn More at SSTI's 2015 Annual Conference!
Interested in the potential to spur economic prosperity in small towns and rural communities? Join us at the 2015 SSTI Annual Conference in Oklahoma City for our discussion on Building Vibrant Entrepreneurial Networks in Small Towns. Visit the conference website at: http://ssticonference.org/

usda, rural, capital, venture capital, startups