The Rural Business-Cooperative Service, a branch of USDA Rural Development, has announced that a portion of the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan is reserved to support production, processing and distribution of locally and regionally produced foods.
Many times, local farmers have difficulties accessing markets and processing facilities and establishing distribution channels. The Locally or Regionally Produced Agricultural Food Products provision provides loan guarantees to establish or facilitate enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, store and/or market locally or regionally produced foods. Applications for the reserved program funding must be made by April 1, 2015.
To be eligible for funding, projects must show that the local or regional nature of the food product is conveyed to the end consumer. This provision within the B&I loan guarantee program gives priority to financing projects that provide a benefit to underserved communities. An underserved community is defined as a community (including an urban or rural community and an Indian tribal community) that has limited access to affordable, healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables AND has a high rate of hunger or food insecurity or a high poverty rate. Applicants that serve schools may also be eligible.
Lenders who have financing projects that fit the local or regionally produced food initiative described above can contact Business Programs Director Herb Shedd in the Nevada State Office of USDA Rural Development at (775) 887-1222 Ext. 119.