News Release
Release No.STELPRD4019326
Lincoln, Nebraska, Jan 29, 2013 --

@@USDA Rural Development is seeking applications for the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. RBEG’s are available to public bodies, non-profit entities and Indian Tribes who desire to finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging private business enterprises in rural areas. Grants may be used for technical assistance, establishment of small business revolving loan funds and the acquisition of land, buildings, and infrastructure to enhance business development.

Grants focused on revolving loan funds, assistance to Native Americans, or multistate projects are encouraged. Grants are only eligible for projects that assist rural communities. Rural is defined as communities and cities with a population of less than 50,000. Applications submitted for state funding are selected based on a competitive scoring process. Applications for competition for the state allocated funds are due by close of business, April 1, 2013.

Priority will be given to application requests of less than $100,000. Additionally, eligible initial applications will receive discretionary points for projects that support the agency and department goals in the following categories:

* Local food systems and value-added agriculture

* Renewable energy

* Great regions: multi-county or multi-state projects that will establish best practices in the area of regional economic and community development

* Support of cooperatives

* Underserved populations: minority and women-owned businesses

* Ecosystem market projects

* Access to capital markets

In Fiscal Year 2012, four grants totaling $195,000 were awarded in Nebraska from the state allocation. Additionally, three grants totaling $154,730 were funded from National Office Native American earmarked funds. While the Fiscal Year 2013 funding level is not yet known, USDA Rural Development Nebraska expects its allocation to be between $200,000 and $300,000, with additional funds available for Native American projects nationally.

USDA Rural Development is issuing this announcement prior to passage of a final appropriations bill for Federal Fiscal Year 2013 to allow potential applicants more time to leverage additional financing for their projects and to prepare their grant applications.

For more information regarding the RBEG program visit:

For more information on this program, to discuss a proposed project or to obtain an application template, please contact one of the following Business Program Specialists:

* Marla Marx, or 308-632-2195 extension 1132 – panhandle including northwest and southwest counties

* Kelley Messenger, or 308-237-3118 extension 1120 – north and south central counties

* Bill Sheppard, or 402-371-5350 extension 1004 – northeast and southeast counties

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources 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, has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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.