Small businesses band together to support farm bill program


By Cora Fox - Guest Columnist



The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), a sliver of the farm bill, is at risk. Alongside small businesses across the country, we’re asking Congress to support and restore funding of RMAP in the final farm bill.

This program offers access to loan capital through grants to organizations that provide training, technical assistance, or small loans to rural businesses nationwide. Since its creation in 2008, this funding has helped more than 2,100 small businesses in nearly every state create jobs and generate economic returns for their local communities.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses across the country employed nearly 56.8 million individuals in 2013. That same year, businesses that employed five to nine individuals created a surge of 84,020 additional jobs. U.S.’s small businesses are a driving force in the local economy, and it is important that programs supporting small businesses remain funded.

On Sept. 30, funding for small businesses through RMAP will expire if lawmakers do not take action. Neither the House or Senate versions of the 2018 farm bill have provided mandatory funding for the program, meaning RMAP will cease to function as a resource for small businesses across the country.

A conservative investment in this program pays dividends for years to come on the main streets of small town U.S.A. Now is the time to let Congress know small business programs, like RMAP, are vital to our rural communities.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

By Cora Fox

Guest Columnist