USDA Loan Program Helps Belgrade Firm Acquire Super Scoopers


The bushfire season in Montana started slightly earlier this year due to drier-than-normal conditions and windy conditions. But Bridger Aerospace, a veteran company based in Belgrade, was ready to answer the call with two new CL-415EAF “Super Scooper” firefighting aircraft.

Through the USDA Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program, Bridger Aerospace was able to complete the purchase of two aircraft, which are unique water-scooping aircraft used to combat forest fires through aerial suppression. And, thanks to the vibrant red and yellow color scheme, these aircraft emergency responders, which are part of Bridger Aerospace’s larger fleet, are hard to miss.

“This summer, you’ll see Super Scoopers fight wildfires with clean water for the federal and state governments,” said McAndrew Rudisill, chief investment officer, Bridger Aerospace.

Bridger Aerospace chose to take advantage of the USDA Business & Industry loan as a result of advice the company received from Live Oak Bank, according to a USDA Rural Development press release. The bank suggested that USDA Rural Development would be the optimal financial partner as the company’s business model is in line with USDA Rural Development’s mission to expand infrastructure and employment in rural Montana.

“BA’s work to combat forest fires through air extinguishing with the purpose-built CL-415EAF Super Scooper has created many new high-paying jobs for skilled workers in rural Montana and has generated significant development in the Belgrade community,” added Rudisill.

But to move on to procurement, Bridger Aerospace required long-term funding to match the Super Scooper’s 30-year lifespan. In the course of the study, Rudisill and his team concluded that the USDA loan terms for business and industry would not only meet the required cost of capital and the length of the loan BA needed to expand its aircraft fleet, but would also allow the company to pay off the debt. loan within a reasonable time frame. Because the USDA Enterprise and Industry Credit Guarantee Program offers loan guarantees to lenders, lenders may in turn offer larger loans to rural businesses. In this case, with a USDA Business & Industry loan guarantee, Bridger Aerospace was able to secure the funding it needed for this larger acquisition.

“The process of working with the USDA has been comprehensive and systematic,” said Rudisill. “We appreciated the partnership and expertise with Live Oak Bank that helped us get through the USDA process and recommend that any company preparing to apply for a B&I USDA loan is very organized in its approach and ready to answer detailed questions. about their business model and the use of debt capital ”.

The USDA is providing loan guarantees of up to $ 1 billion to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic. The deadline for applications is September 15th or until the funds allocated for this purpose are spent. For more information, see the CARES Business and Industry Law Program website at

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