Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Rural Matters

Dec 20, 2021

In the final part of our four-part series on rural funding, produced in collaboration with and supported by Thomas USAF, Michelle chats with Thomas Kimsey, President and CEO of Thomas USAF Group, who manages more than $100 Million annually in loan production. Michelle also welcomes Dr. Karama Neal, who is the USDA Administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Prior to her time at the USDA, Dr. Neal served as president of Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a nonprofit community development loan fund and financial development organization promoting economic mobility in rural Arkansas and Mississippi. She spent twelve years at Southern and led their small business, consumer and other development lending, consumer and savings focused public policy work, and a variety of financial development services to help low and moderate wealth families and communities build wealth. Finally, Michelle chats with Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk, who leads the USDA's Rural Development Innovation Center as the Chief Innovation Officer. She has nearly 13 years of leadership experience at USDA Rural Development, leading the Telecommunications and Water Programs for more than 11 years, and leading critical agency-wide efforts to streamline programs and increase the agency's impact in rural areas. Michelle, Thomas and Dr. Neal chat about promoting competition and strengthening America’s food supply chain, discuss details on the new $800 million allocated to provide economic relief to biofuel producers and renewable fuel markets effected by the pandemic, and how rural lenders work with rural borrowers, and how they interface with USDA Rural Development. During Michelle’s chat with Jacki Ponti-Lazaruk, they discuss some of the challenges that USDA's Rural Development Innovation Center face, the opportunities that have risen out of the pandemic, as well as the future outlook for the program in 2022, and 2023. If you would like more information on the various programs discussed on the podcast, please visit the links below:
Biofuel Producer Program:
Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program:
Face Shield Story:
This episode and the entire four-part series are sponsored by the Thomas USAF Group. With 40 years of experience working in the government guaranteed loan space, Thomas USAF Group is uniquely positioned to offer exceptional services to meet your business needs. For more information, visit