Obama to pledge $2B to rural communities

June 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- The White House said Monday rural U.S. communities would receive nearly $2 billion in additional grants funneled through the Small Business Administration.

In the current fiscal year, more than $400 million has been invested in rural communities through the Small Business Investment Co. operated by the SBA.

President Barack Obama Monday announced an expansion of that program by an additional $2 billion to be available through the 2016 fiscal year.

"As long as I'm president, my Administration will continue to give our rural communities the support and investment they need to show us the way," Obama said in a release.

The White House praised the agricultural community's hard working values, comparing it with "the irresponsible financial collapse and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression."

"Rural Americans continue to come together to buckle down and make ends meet," the White House said.

An inter-agency government report to be released Monday said American farmers earned a record $98.1 billion in 2011, but adjusted for inflation income came out as the third highest in the past 50 years.

Farm exports reached $137.4 billion in fiscal 2011. In addition, the report says, 12,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grants and federal loans have been awarded in the past three years to the benefit of 50,000 rural small businesses.

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