News Release
Release No.STELPRD4019696
ContactAdam Czech(651) 602-7799
(FEBRUARY 28, 2013) AGRICULTURE UNDER SECRETARY FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT HOSTS ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION AT STEELE-WASECA COOPERATIVE ELECTRIC
Owatonna, Minn., Feb 28, 2013 --

@@ Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager visited Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric today to host a roundtable discussion on USDA’s revolving loan fund programs and rural job creation.

“Minnesota has one of the largest USDA revolving loan fund portfolios in the nation,” Tonsager said. “These funds boost small businesses and support President Obama’s goals for rural job creation. Today’s roundtable was an opportunity to bring together private lenders, local governments, nonprofits and business leaders to discuss strategies on increasing access to capital for rural businesses.”

After the roundtable discussion, Tonsager spoke at the Cooperative Network and CoBank’s conference. The Under Secretary discussed the proposed Food Farms and Jobs Bill, Rural Development funding, and the state of the American agriculture industry. CoBank is a national cooperative bank serving industries throughout rural America.

USDA has several programs that award loans or grants to intermediaries – typically local nonprofits, governments, utility cooperatives and Indian tribes -- to establish revolving loan funds (RLFs). The intermediaries use the RLFs to make loans to area businesses for start-up, expansion or job creation projects. As each loan is repaid, the intermediary can make additional loans to other businesses in its service area.

USDA’s total RLF portfolio in Minnesota is over $40 million, with about $11.5 million located in Northwestern Minnesota. To learn more about where these funds are located and how to access them, check out the RLF database on Rural Development’s website: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/MN-RBS-RLFMap.pdf

USDA Rural Development has invested over $3.5 billion throughout Minnesota since 2009.

Since taking office, the Obama Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development 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 areas.

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