NORMAN — A drive through rural parts of the Southwest can be depressing. For sale and for rent signs are prevalent. Businesses along main streets have closed. Unless they are close to a major interstate highway, many communities are in decline.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to change that. It announced a $150 million program designed to provide investment capital to help small agriculture-related businesses in rural areas.
The program would provide cash needed for those companies to expand.
The funds would be used as investment capital — not the traditional guaranteed loans or direct loans provided by the USDA.
The money comes from eight farm credit banks.
Under the program, according to the Associated Press, the government has created a new business entity called the Rural Business Investment Company. A third party company picks the companies where the new funds are invested.
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