RMAP has provided small business support in 45 states

Thirty-one organizations signed a letter on Oct. 17 requesting members of the House and Senate appropriations committees and agriculture appropriations committees to fund the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), a farm bill program, in 2020.

Members of the committees will soon negotiate 2020 appropriations. In the letter, the organizations ask that Congress members stand up for RMAP and support rural communities by ensuring $6 million in appropriated funding remains available for RMAP.


October 17, 2019
 

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey, Chairwoman
House Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Richard C. Shelby, Chairman
Senate Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Chairman
House Agriculture Appropriations Committee

The Honorable John Hoeven, Chairman
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member
House Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Vice Chairman
Senate Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Jeff Fortenberry, Ranking Member
House Agriculture Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Jeff Merkley, Ranking Member
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee

 

Dear Chairs and Ranking Members,

We are writing to ask that you work to ensure funding for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program in fiscal year 2020. At a time when rural economic opportunity is scarce, funding this program is the right thing to do for rural America. 

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) offers important assistance to rural entrepreneurs nationwide. First created in the 2008 farm bill (7 U.S.C 2008s), this program provides funding for both revolving loan funds and the offering of technical assistance to in-state organizations. 

Rural entrepreneurs across 45 states have accessed this support to build their businesses and make their dreams a reality. The types of businesses that RMAP can and has supported include veterinary clinics, photography businesses, restaurants, and breweries. These and other businesses have benefited from the technical assistance available through RMAP, which can include training in accounting, financials, marketing, customer service, and social media.

RMAP received $3 million annually in mandatory funding under the 2014 farm bill, and similar levels under the 2008 farm bill. While relatively small by farm bill program standards, RMAP has had a big impact for rural businesses. Since 2008, RMAP has allowed organizations to access over $72 million of loan funds to support their work lending to rural entrepreneurs. Because the loan funds revolve, the total impact to rural small businesses is well over $100 million. RMAP has also provided grants for technical assistance in excess of $21 million. 

Since the 2018 farm bill removed mandatory funding for RMAP, we have been grateful to you and your Congressional colleagues for your work in ensuring that RMAP was funded through annual appropriations for fiscal year 2019.

However, the work is not done. We ask that as you move towards conference negotiations for 2020 appropriations, you stand up for RMAP and for rural communities and ensure $6 million in appropriated funding is available for RMAP.

 

Respectfully,

The undersigned organizations:

California
California FarmLink
Colusa County Partnership
Feed The Hunger Foundation
Grant Writing Los Angeles
Great Northern Services
Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Kitchen Food Ventures
Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corporation

Georgia
Southwest Georgia United Empowerment Zone, Inc.

Kentucky
Community Ventures

Maryland
Maryland Capital Enterprise
Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center

Maine
Eastern Maine Development Corp.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
Northern Maine Development Commission
Community Concepts Finance Corp.

Michigan
Northern Initiatives

Minnesota
Southwest Initiative Foundation

Montana
MoFi

North Dakota
Lake Agassiz Development Group

Nebraska
Center for Rural Affairs
Nebraska Enterprise Fund

Oregon
Klamath Lake Regional Housing Center
The Klamath Tribes

Vermont
Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation
Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategy (SeVEDS)

Wisconsin
CAP Services, Inc.
Indianhead Community Action Agency, Inc.
Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation