Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Lending program for public-private partnerships in rural areas finds success, but not in Obama budget

A program originated by Agstar Financial Services in Minnesota is forming public-private partnerships, bringing small businesses and small towns together with state government, non-profit groups and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote rural development. Called the Rural Capital Network, The $6.5 million investment has resulted in an increase in jobs and the economy in rural America, reports Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter.

John Monson, AgStar's senior vice president for investments in rural America, said the program creates an average of 93 jobs for each $20 million investment and has made $566 million in investments in the past five years. The program, though, could be in trouble. President Obama's budget "zeroed out the guaranteed loan program that the Department of Agriculture uses to support partnerships like those coordinated by AgStar," Agri-Pulse reports.

Agri-Pulse is subscription-only, but offers a free trial here. The Ag-Star website is available here.

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