The Rural Business Cooperative Service (RBS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture published in the Oct. 30th Federal Register an interim rule with a request for comments on an industry loan program for lamb processors.

The program will make $15 million available to processors in fiscal year 2001 and is part of the $100 million Section 201 lamb trade relief package. The rule amends RBS regulations for Business and Industry Loans "to establish a three-year set a side of a portion of its Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program funds to finance real estate purchases and improvements, working capital, debt refinancing, and equipment in domestic lamb packing and processing plants."

The interim rule may be viewed on-line at The eligibility, ineligibility and ineligible purpose requirements can be viewed at under sections 4279.108, 4279.113 and 4279.114. The rule is effective immediately, so businesses can now begin working with their bankers on guaranteed loans.

Written or e-mail comments must be submitted on or before Dec. 29, 2000. Submit written comments via U.S. Postal Service, in duplicate, to the Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch; Attention: Cheryl Thompson; Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture; STOP 0742, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW.; Washington, D.C., 20250-0742. Submit written comments via Federal Express Mail, in duplicate, to the Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch; Attention: Cheryl Thompson; USDA-Rural Development; 3rd Floor, 300 E Street, SW.; Washington, D.C., 20546. Comments also may be submitted via the Internet by addressing them to Comments must contain the word "Lamb" in the subject line.

For further information, contact: Roland Woodfolk, Commercial Loan Specialist; Business Programs Processing Division, Rural Business-Cooperative Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture; STOP 3221, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW.; Washington, D.C. 20250-3221; telephone 202-690-3805, or by sending an e-mail message to .

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