USDA invests in rural America


TFB | October 17, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the launch of a new private investment fund with the potential to inject $100 million to help spur rural economic growth.

The initiative, called the McLarty Capital Partners Rural Investment Fund, is part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to attract private sector capital to investment opportunities in rural America to help drive economic growth in smaller communities.

usda“Innovative small businesses throughout rural America need the same access to capital as their urban business counterparts,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “McLarty Capital Partners is an important ally in USDA’s efforts to reenergize the rural economy, help small businesses grow and strengthen local communities.”

McLarty Capital specializes in financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

“We are pleased to partner with USDA in this innovative public-private partnership to propel and sustain small business growth in rural America,” Franklin McLarty said in the USDA release. “With roots in America’s heartland, Franklin McLarty Capital Partners is committed to ensuring that small- and medium-sized enterprises have the means necessary to achieve their business goals, and this endeavor only furthers that mission.”

The new fund was formed under USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP). In 2014, Advantage Capital was granted a license under RBIP for its $154 million Advantage Capital AgriBusiness Partners fund. The fund has made 11 investments since its inception in 2014, so far totaling $39 million in agriculture-related businesses, including bio-manufacturing, local and regional food systems and advanced farming technologies.

Other RBIPs that have conditional approval from USDA are: Innova Ag Innovation and Meritus Kirchner Ventures in April 2015 and the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund in April 2016.

These efforts are part of the Made in Rural America initiative, which was created by President Obama to help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities and access new markets abroad.