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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Business News: AgCountry Farm Credit Services partners with USDA for rural investment fund

  • AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Fargo, ND, is partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture in a new investment fund that will help propel the growth of small businesses across rural America. The new Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) will allow the USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agricult...
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  •     AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Fargo, ND, is partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture in a new investment fund that will help propel the growth of small businesses across rural America. The new Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) will allow the USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses. The RBIC is being funded by a $150 million investment by several Farm Credit institutions, including AgCountry, and Advantage Capital Partners, a leading growth capital and small business finance firm that will manage the new fund.   
        "This new partnership will provide an additional source of funds for businesses in some cutting-edge fields of agriculture,” says Bob Bahl, AgCountry FCS CEO. “It’s another great way to serve both agriculture and rural America.”   
        Currently, USDA programs exist to help provide loans or loan guarantees to help rural businesses grow, but many small cutting-edge businesses also need equity support in addition to or instead of borrowed funds. The new RBIC fund is being formed under the USDA’s Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP), which the USDA utilizes to license funds to invest in enterprises that will create growth and job opportunities in rural areas, with an emphasis on smaller enterprises. Working through the USDA program enables licensed funds to raise capital from Farm Credit System banks and associations.    
        "It's designed to fill a very narrow but important piece that's been missing from assistance and help available in rural areas," says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.   
        This new partnership brings together resources and people that are focused on providing more private capital, small business investment and quality jobs to rural America. This public-private partnership will have a tangible positive impact on America’s rural economy and is a model of how government can serve as a catalyst for private investment in rural America. The new fund will allow innovative small businesses throughout rural America to access the capital they need to grow and create jobs.   
        The Farm Credit institutions providing initial investments in the RBIC fund are: AgCountry Farm Credit Services, AgStar Financial Services, AgriBank, Capital Farm Credit, CoBank, Farm Credit Bank of Texas, Farm Credit Services of America, Farm Credit Mid-America and United FCS.   
        Headquartered in Fargo, ND and with an office in Crookston,, AgCountry provides credit and financial services to farmers, ranchers and rural customers in eastern ND and northwest and west central MN and to agribusinesses across the United States. 

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