East Lansing, Mich., Sep 04, 2013 -- USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Lillian Salerno today highlighted the role of the agency's loan programs in helping businesses during a Manufacturing Community Roundtable event held in Flint, Mich. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy. During the roundtable, Salerno discussed the importance of local manufacturing firms, such as Aztec Manufacturing, in sparking economic recovery.
"USDA Rural Development has been able to provide critical support through loan guarantees to allow businesses in Michigan and across the nation to survive and thrive," Salerno said. "Since 2009, the USDA Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program has supported more than 3,500 small businesses that have helped bolster the rural economy in communities across the country. The program's success rate is the highest it has been since 2000, and it continues to improve."
At the roundtable, Salerno discussed the success of Aztec Manufacturing, which, in 2010, received a $3.9 million loan guarantee from USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry Loan Program. The company produces a variety of auto parts for the Ford Motor Company and other clients, including portions of the Mustang brake assembly and Ford truck suspensions.
Since receiving USDA assistance, Aztec has increased its work force from 48 to 55 employees and plans to hire nine additional workers. The company is now also able to obtain private financing – which was unavailable during the steep downturn in the industry.
According to Salerno, today's event is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. She said a comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy – and that's just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
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 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 a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the Department implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.
USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
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