Kansas’ locally-owned businesses are the jewels that make rural communities shine. The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, a farm bill program, helps these small business owners obtain resources resources and training they need.

This program offers access to loan capital through grants to organizations that provide training, technical assistance, or small loans to rural businesses. Since its creation in 2008, this funding has helped 2,100 entrepreneurs create jobs and expand consumer access to goods and services in rural areas.

On Sept. 30, this funding for small businesses will expire if we do not take action. Both the House and Senate versions of the 2018 farm bill have placed the program on the chopping block; however, there is still time to save it.

Grantees of the program are asking for a $3 million annual appropriation in mandatory funding, a small fraction of the $867 billion price tag for farm bill spending over the next 10 years.

As members of the farm bill conference committee, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) must protect this program on behalf of Kansas’ rural businesses, which play a crucial role in the state’s economy.

Small town main streets are depending on Sen. Roberts and Rep. Marshall. The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program creates jobs, economic opportunity, and most importantly, invests in the people of rural Kansas.