Rural business leaders call for more technical assistance

Rural business leaders are calling on Congress to advance one on one technical assistance.

During a House Ag Committee meeting, an agribusiness leader told lawmakers funding gaps in the Farm Bill and pandemic relief programs failed to help small business owners in farm country.

Todd Erling with Hudson Valley says that USDA’s Rural Development Agency is the right place to invest.

“Helping our rural entrepreneurs have the same tools that urban and suburban entrepreneurs have through small business development centers through some of the other best practices that we’ve seen with strategic planning, access to accounting, access to human resources, and the ability then to take and implement not only the expertise but marrying that to capital sources and capital programs, like CDFIs, like EDA rural development programs, like USDA BMI programs,” Erling states.

In the Senate, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack testified on USDA’s budget requests which include a significant increase in staffing and rural development. That could provide the additional technical assistance Erling was calling for.