"Farming is a Business,” according to the The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Rural Strong Oklahoma is coming to Woodward to help bring business and ag together on Wednesday, July 17 from 9 a.m. through noon. 

In April of 2018, the USDA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) made a 5-year commitment to promote business opportunity in rural agriculture communities. They are collaborating in mutual interests, such as streamlining programs, improving innovation and exploring opportunities, according to the memorandum.

In so doing, the two agencies are hosting a Resource Fair at High Plains Technology Center (HPTC). The fair will introduce local small businesses or potential entrepreneurs to several local organizations that can help them grow, including several local lenders and the Woodward Chamber of Commerce.

“We are working with local governments, chambers and community organizations to reach as many aspiring and existing entrepreneurs as possible to help educate rural areas on the many ways that SBA and USDA may assist them in starting and growing their small businesses,” Oklahoma SBA District Director Dottie Overal said. 

Both the USDA and the SBA will also be presenting programs and services they have available. They will also be addressing rural contracting opportunities and certifications.

“Whether it is through working with a local lender or business counseling, exporting, or government contracting, we can assist entrepreneurs through any stage of their business cycle.” Overal said. 

This is a free event with roundtables and trainings to help start and grow businesses, improve investment opportunities and technical assistance and provide tools for rural businesses to secure federal contracts.

“The Small Business Administration is a government organization to help small businesses nationwide,” Business & Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator Andra Smith explained. “Rural Strong is for small businesses in rural areas and Woodward’s considered rural. That's why the SBA is involved. It's also farm because of the USDA, but not strictly farm.”

To register for the Resource Fair, visit sba.gov/ok. For more information, contact Larry Weatherford at 405-609-8012 or Larry.Weatherford@SBA.gov.