Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Act of 2023 introduced in U.S. Senate

A bill in the U.S. Senate would help increase investments in agricultural communities.

Nebraska Republican Pete Ricketts and Minnesota Democrat Tina Smith introduced the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Act of 2023 last week.

Johnathan Hladik, policy director for the Center for Rural Affairs, says the legislation expands funding opportunities through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).

“Agriculture and small business need to work together,” he said. “They need to complement each other for our small towns and rural communities to remain vibrant. We can’t sit around and wait for jobs to come to us.”

RMAP was established in the 2008 farm bill and helps rural entrepreneurs who are unable to access credit from traditional lenders by providing loans and technical assistance through community lenders.

Hladik tells Brownfield the RMAP program needs enhancements. “The first and easiest way to do that is to make these loans a bit larger just to raise the ceiling on the loan limit.”

He says the bill has bipartisan support and he’s optimistic it could be included in the 2023 Farm Bill.

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