West Bend, Iowa, May 24, 2012 -- As part of USDA’s effort to observe “National Business Week” and to highlight assistance provided to small rural businesses, USDA Rural Development Business and Cooperative Programs Acting Administrator John Padalino today visited a flourishing small business in northwest Iowa. The firm, Country Maid, makers of a line of pastries, last year celebrated its 20th year in business.
“To think that Country Maid started in a farmhouse basement just 20 years ago is amazing,” Padalino said. “With more than 70 full-time and part-time employees, Country Maid is one of this community’s largest employers. It is a true business success.”
USDA Rural Development first started working with Country Maid in 1996, providing funds to help construct a building that was ultimately purchased by the company. As Country Maid has grown over the years, the community and local, state and federal partners have worked to make sure it remains in West Bend. For example, the partners worked to finance and develop an industrial park that is now home to Country Maid’s office and production facilities. The company moved into the new facilities in February 2011.
West Bend is a tremendous example of a community that believes in the benefits of investing money in local businesses or community-betterment efforts. During the past 30 years, community leaders have put out multiple calls to businesses and residents asking them to help save local businesses, create new ones and even keep the local school from closing.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President is committed to using Federal resources more efficiently to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees, including the Value-Added Producer Grant program. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).