The U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing a new program that will provide $150 million to help small agriculture-related startups in rural areas that need cash to expand.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in Cedar Rapids on Monday to announce the formation of the first Rural Business Investment Company, licensed by the USDA to establish a fund that will invest in businesses.
The money is coming from eight Farm Credit banks in six states.
New Orleans-based Advantage Capital Partners will choose the businesses to receive investment cash. The company, which has experience investing in small startups in rural areas, will manage the fund.
Vilsack says it's the first step in USDA plans this summer to create a buzz about business activity in the nation's rural areas.