Despite constant right-wing accusations that President Obama is not a friend to small businesses, the White House announced a $2 billion dollar investment in rural small businesses to be spent over the next four years.
So far this year, $400 million dollars has been invested in rural businesses via the Small Business Investment Company, or SBIC. According to the SBIC Program’s website, its mission is to “improve and stimulate the national economy and small businesses by stimulating and supplementing the flow of private equity capital and long term loan funds for the sound financing, growth, expansion and modernization of small business operations while insuring the maximum participation of private financing sources.”
According to the Strengthening Rural Communities: Lessons From A Growing Farm Economy, a report released by the White House last month:
•• Farm sector income experienced a rapid rebound since 2009, growing 27% in 2010 and 20% in 2011, according to preliminary estimates.
•• Farm sector income reached a preliminary estimate of a nominal record of $98.1 billion in 2011. Adjusting for general inflation, real farm income in 2011 recorded its 3rd highest level in the last 50 years.
•• Farm exports are at record levels: in FY 2011, total food and agriculture exports reached the highest level ever at $137.4 billion.
•• In FY 2011, agricultural exports supported more than 1.15 million American jobs.
•• The direct and indirect economic activity brought by farm exports supported 907,000 jobs in 2010, including 298,000 in the farm sector, 174,000 in manufacturing, and 437,000 in transportation and other service sectors.
•• America’s agricultural trade surplus is at a record level: in FY 2011, the surplus exceeded $42 billion.
Furthermore, farm machinery shipments reached a record high of nearly $3 billion in 2011. Manufactured food shipments also broke records bringing more than $710 billion in 2011.
The report claims studies have shown that “every dollar invested in public agricultural research generates 10 to 20 times that amount in benefits to society”
The Obama Administration also highlights the importance of new and diverse farming industries such as organic farming, with the retail value of the organic industry climbing to $31.4 billion in 2011, up from $21.8 billion in 2008.
Since Obama’s 2008 election, the agriculture industry has continued to grow and exceed expectations. If this isn’t proof Obama’s policies are helping small businesses, what is?