Looking for venture capital? Depending on where you live, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may be just the ticket. In June, USDA Secretary Ann Veneman (left) announced that her agency and the Small Business Administration were launching the Rural Business Investment Program, to provide $60 million in early stage funding to companies whose principal office is in a small rural community. The funds will be doled out by three investment firms that will be awarded up to $20 million in government-backed debentures to invest early next year. At least 75% of that money is to be put into rural businesses. "This capital will help to create or expand business ventures needed for a strong rural economy," Veneman said.