UNITED STATES-Minnesota's Congressional District One Rep. Brad Finstad and Congressional District Two Rep. Angie Craig introduced the "Investing in Rural Manufacturing Act" on Friday.
In a conversation with KIMT on Monday, Finstad said the bill aims to address existing issues when it comes to federal assistance and the rural businesses that request it.
"My time as state director for the office of USDA Rural Development I would run into this quite often that there would be business opportunities in rural Minnesota, in southern Minnesota, manufacturing opportunities and they would come to federal agencies and ask for help and we really could not find that clear path where we as agencies could help them," Finstad said.
Finstad said the bill would authorize the Small Business Administration (SBA) to create a forgivable loan program for qualifying businesses that are expanding or creating a manufacturing business in rural community.
The loan would be partially forgivable and some costs would be covered after a business creates long term jobs.
Finstad said the bill also has another desired outcome, which is the retention of rural Minnesotans.
"The other component of this bill too is to make people aware that we have awesome opportunities right here in southern Minnesota so we do not have to export our greatest asset and that is our children to other places for those job opportunities. We have those job opportunities right here," Finstad said.
As of Nov. 2022, roughly 330,000 Minnesotans work in manufacturing, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.