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Farm Credit institutions and USDA Announce New Tool to Help Rural Businesses Grow

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Monday the creation of a new investment fund that will help propel the growth of small businesses across rural America.

“One of USDA’s top priorities is to help re-energize the rural economy,” Secretary Vilsack said during a visit to Cedar Rapids, where he held a roundtable to discuss the challenges rural businesses face in accessing private equity. “We now have a powerful new tool available to help achieve that goal.”

It’s known as the Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC). The USDA is licensing the RBIC to raise capital from Farm Credit System banks and associations for investment in enterprises that will create growth and job opportunities in rural areas, with an emphasis on smaller enterprises.

Advantage Capital Partners, which will manage the fund, and partners from eight Farm Credit institutions have pledged to invest nearly $150 million into the RBIC. Farm Credit Services of America is pleased to be part of this opportunity to contribute to rural America and its financial strength and vitality.

The Advantage Capital fund will make equity investments in later-stage small businesses involved in agriculture, processing and marketing of agricultural products, farm supply, input suppliers and rural communications.

Read the full USDA announcement.

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