On August 15, 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications for grants and loans specifically designed to support small rural businesses. Under USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), any rural business with ten or fewer employees meets the definition of a microentrepreneur or a microenterprise and may be eligible to receive funding.
According to RMAP, USDA does not directly fund microentrepreneurs or microenterprises, but instead provides loans and grants to individual Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs). These MDOs are then able to loan funds to microentrepreneurs or microenterprises that are unable to qualify for conventional credit. Additionally, each MDO may receive USDA grants that allow the MDO to provide microentrepreneurs and microenterprises with technical assistance and training.
All RMAP grant and loan applications must be submitted to USDA by September 13, 2013. For information regarding how to apply for RMAP funding, please see the August 14, 2013 Federal Register.
To learn more about RMAP, please see USDA's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) Website.
Written by M. Sean High – Research Fellow
The Penn State Law Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
August 21, 2013