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WASHINGTON, DC - Acting Deputy Under Secretary Roger Glendenning today announced that USDA has certified the Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV LP as an investment pool for small and startup rural businesses.

"This certification is another tool USDA provides to help rural businesses, to create jobs and to attract private-sector capital to rural communities," Glendenning said. "Geography should not be a barrier to economic success. This pool will offer rural business owners the same access to capital as their counterparts in metropolitan areas."

The fund will support 30 to 45 companies that have the potential to generate more than $200 million in economic activity and create 600 jobs. It will provide capital for high-growth companies in the biosciences, technology and agricultural technology industries. The fund is the second USDA has certified under the Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP). RBIP funds support USDA's strategy for rural economic growth.

For a fund to receive USDA certification, its managers must demonstrate that they have venture capital experience and that they have successfully worked with community development organizations.

The Ag Innovation Fund is being managed by Innova Memphis RBIC, LLC. Innova has three other funds that are not part of the Rural Business Investment Program. Those three funds collectively have invested $20 million in 75 startup companies, attracted $90 million of outside capital and created approximately 250 jobs.

Farm Credit System members are contributing $31 million to the Ag Innovation Fund. The Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of banks and lenders specifically chartered to serve agriculture and the U.S. rural economy.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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