Federal programs that invest in rural America have a significant impact on small communities. As resources are made available to local businesses and farmers, they are better equipped with the tools they need to succeed.
Each year, Congress is responsible for passing an appropriations bill that allocates additional funding to programs that support agricultural, rural development and small communities. On March 11, President Joe Biden signed the 2022 appropriations bill, totalling $1.5 trillion.
Included in the bill is the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program. The program, funded at $6.5 million, provides revolving loans and grants to community organizations that offer low interest loans and technical assistance to small businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
Two other programs that support local businesses also received funding. The Rural Business Development Grant program received $37 million to support small businesses, and the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program received $8.8 million to support cooperatives and mutually owned businesses.
The Rural Energy for America Program received $12.5 million for grants to assist agricultural producers and rural businesses implementing renewable energy or energy-efficient systems.
The Local Agriculture Market Program provides grant funding to help farmers and ranchers process and sell local foods. It received $20.4 million.
Also of interest to agricultural producers, Conservation Technical Assistance received $759.8 million. This funding supports the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service staff who work directly with producers to implement practices that improve soil health and water quality.
The Center is encouraged to see that funding levels were maintained or slightly increased from 2021. As we look ahead to the future, continued advocacy from people that are impacted by these programs will ensure they’re available for generations to come.