Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) was joined at the University of Nevada’s Desert Farming Initiative last week by Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman of the Small Business Administration, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small, Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV-02), and University of Nevada President Brian Sandoval to commemorate an agreement between the SBA and USDA designed to support rural small businesses.
Rosen is a member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and she hosted the roundtable discussion that included leaders from the Small Business Development Center and the Governor’s Office on Economic Development along with local business owners John and Myles Getto of Desert Oasis Teff and Tron and Jessica Huckaby from Hucksalt.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Administrator Guzman recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the USDA and SBA to promote more substantial businesses and economies in rural areas. This agreement has already led to a close partnership between both agencies, establishing the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program that provides technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. In 2022, the University of Nevada, Reno, received RBDG program funds from the previous MOU to help a small agricultural business in Nevada.
“In Nevada, small businesses make up over 99% of all businesses, including many in rural areas,” said Senator Rosen. “I was pleased to bring leaders of the Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture together to discuss how they are working closely, especially through the crucial Rural Business Development Grant Program that I work to fund every year, to support our rural small businesses. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support Nevada’s economy.”
Amodei recognized local Fallon business owners for their dedication, addressing the “legacy factor that brings together ag and small business,” saying, “No one has a better understanding than you folks. Hats off to the Senator here for hosting this event.” And about Guzman and Small, “You have two public servants here who are mission-focused, and they want to leave things better than they found them.”
“Rural small businesses strengthen local economies, creating jobs and serving communities,” said Administrator Guzman. “The SBA’s partnership with USDA will build upon the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to investing in underserved rural Americans and providing the needed resources to help them start and grow their businesses to advance our economy and global competitiveness.”
Deputy Secretary Torres Small said, “When rural small business owners, entrepreneurs, and technical assistance providers get the opportunities they deserve, rural Nevadans benefit. That's why USDA is proud to continue its partnership with the SBA to do just that. Today's announcement is yet another example of President Biden's commitment to the prosperity of rural communities, and thanks to Senator Rosen's leadership, we'll continue to help rural businesses compete on a fair playing field in both domestic and international markets.”
“Our small rural businesses are foundational to a diversified and successful Nevada economy,” said Sandoval. “Thanks to the efforts of Senator Rosen for continuing this work that is investing in our rural businesses, communities throughout our state are continuing to grow and thrive. I am also very proud that our university, through our Nevada Small Business Development Center in our College of Business as well as our University Extension, is playing an important role in ensuring that small rural business needs are being met through counseling, economic planning, and coordination, business opportunity analysis, technical reports and much, much more.”
During the Roundtable discussion, Jessica Huckaby repeated what Grandpa Huckaby used to say, “The best and worst part of the business is family.” Their children are the fourth generation to work in business, as is Myles Getto, who attended the roundtable with his father, John. Hucksalt was started in 1938, and Desert Teff was started in 2009.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed on November 20 shows that the USDA and SBA are committed to increasing investments in small and underserved communities to help grow the rural economy and create good-paying jobs for people nationwide. Thanks to the SBA and USDA agreement, the rural business development grant program was designed to provide technical assistance and training funding to create jobs and expand access to new and better market opportunities for people in rural Nevada.