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Greater Private Sector Diversity Sought on USDA’s Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees

Blogged By: 
Janet Nuzum, Foreign Agricultural Service Associate Administrator

The face of America – and of American agriculture – is changing. The number of farms in the United States has grown 4 percent and the operators of those farms have become more diverse in the past five years, according to results of USDA’s most recent Census of Agriculture.  The 2007 Census counted nearly 30 percent more women as principal farm operators. The count of Hispanic operators grew by 10 percent, and the counts of American Indian, Asian and Black farm operators increased as well.  In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the number of minority-owned businesses grew more than 45 percent between 2002 and 2007.

American AgricultureTo reflect the diversity of our agricultural sector and business community, USDA is stepping up its efforts to continually supplement its seven Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees (ATACs) with new members, especially those who represent minorities, women, or persons with disabilities. We believe that people with different backgrounds and views will make the work of these committees, and thus of USDA, more effective.

Applicants should represent a U.S. entity with an interest in agricultural trade and have expertise and knowledge of agricultural trade as it relates to policy and commodity-specific issues. For example, Robert Anderson of Sustainable Strategies LLC has served at different points in time on both the Fruits and Vegetables ATAC and the Processed Foods ATAC. Of his experience, Anderson said, “I had the opportunity to meet directly with the highest levels of international trade leadership in the United States and globally. Most importantly, the U.S. government actually seeks our input, listens, and responds to the needs and expectations of the U.S. agricultural industry.”

At a time when our economy is trying to rebound from a serious recession, having a voice on one of these committees can make a significant impact on the government decisions that affect our economic future. That’s because agricultural trade plays an extremely important role in the health of our nation’s economy. U.S. agricultural exports have consistently contributed to the positive U.S. trade balance, creating jobs and boosting economic growth. In fiscal 2011, U.S. agricultural exports were forecast to reach a record $137 billion, which supported more than one million jobs in America this year.

So What's in the Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea?

Blogged By: 
MBDA

President Obama sent three trade agreements to Congress for approval. While each of the trade agreements were negotiated differently, they all share one common goal - to increase opportunities for U.S. businesses, farmers, and workers through improved access for their products and services in foreign markets. Each supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

All Trade Promotion Agreements have one thing in common. They reduce barriers to U.S. exports, and protect U.S. interests and enhance the rule of law in the partner country. The reduction of trade barriers and the creation of a more stable and transparent trading and investment environment make it easier and cheaper for U.S. companies to export their products and services to trading partner markets.This results in jobs here in America.

The most common question about these agreements is, "What exactly is in them?"

SBA-Proposed Size Standard Increases for Information and Administrative Services Industries Reflect Marketplace Changes

Blogged By: 
SBA News

Proposed rules published today for comment in The Federal Register by the U.S. Small Business Administration would adjust the size definition of small businesses in 52 industries in two broad categories of businesses, ranging from travel agencies and movie production to waste management.

The proposed adjustments to size standards in 15 industries in Sector 51 of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), “Information,” and in 37 industries in Sector 56, “Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services,” reflect changes in marketplace conditions in those sectors.

Jobs Act Loan Incentives Led to Record SBA Loan Approval Volume

Blogged By: 
SBA News

SBA Announces Record Loan Approval Volume in FY 2011 - Supporting Over $30 billion in Small Business Lending

Record $12 billion 1st Quarter Followed By Return to Pre-Recession Levels

Spurred in part by unprecedented loan volume in the year’s first quarter, small business loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration in FY2011 reached the highest mark in the agency’s history, supporting over $30 billion, continuing the rebound begun in 2009 and returning to healthy pre-recession levels in the final three quarters of the year.

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development Awarded Grant From SBA To Support Small Business Teaming

Blogged By: 
MBDA

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is one of eleven awardees in a Small Business Teaming Pilot Program designed to help small businesses work together to compete for federal contracts, grow, and create jobs.

On September 27, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act, the most significant piece of small business legislation in over a decade designed to provide critical resources to help small businesses continue to drive economic recover and create jobs. The Small Business Teaming Pilot Program, one of many beneficial programs made possible by the Small Business Jobs Act, awards grants to organizations for training, counseling, and mentoring to help small businesses enter into teaming relationships and compete for larger federal contracts. Teaming may take the form of joint venture and mentor-protégé relationships.

As one of eleven grantees selected from hundreds efforts to of applications submitted, the National Center was awarded $500,000 that will go toward creating jobs, businesses, and cooperative efforts between businesses and tribes nationally and within Indian Country. The organizations in the pilot program will help small businesses find other firms interested in teaming, form teaming arrangements, and find and bid on larger contracts. Grantees will leverage their existing resources and collaborate with SBA District Offices, resource partners, and other federal, state, local and tribal government small business development programs.

Did you know...

MBDA Minority Business Centers helped clients secure contracts totaling $6.9 billion during the last 5 fiscal years.
Graph for Dollar Value of Contracts

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