The Agriculture Department and the Small Business Administration agreed on Monday to increase investments in small and underserved rural communities, said agency leaders. The USDA has a portfolio of billions of dollars in grants, loans, and loan guarantees for rural housing, business development, and electricity, internet, and water and sewer projects.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small and SBA administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman signed a memorandum of understanding that calls for the agencies to work together to help farmers and small businesses identify ways to export their products, provide training and technical assistance for rural small business owners, cross-promote programs that support rural businesses and socially disadvantaged communities, and expand their collaboration in rural areas with persistently high levels of poverty.
“Rural small businesses strengthen local economies — creating jobs and serving communities,” said Casillas Guzman. Torres Small said, “At USDA, we are redoubling our commitment to drive economic security and prosperity for people in rural America, so they can find opportunities to succeed right in the places they call home.”