The state Senate has approved legislation designed to increase jobs and grow small businesses in upstate and rural New York.

The New York Rural and Agriculture Jobs Act was sponsored by Senator James Seward.

It would create a $100 million fund to help develop small businesses that are agricultural in nature or located in rural areas of the state.

"New York State has lost population in recent years, and rural areas in particular have been hard hit," said Seward.  "The best way to keep people in our rural parts of the state, and attract new families and individuals, is through a robust economy and job market.  The New York Rural and Agriculture Jobs Act will lead to an influx of capital that is sorely needed to jumpstart small business growth in communities searching for a spark."

The New York State Business Council and Unshackle Upstate have endorsed Senator Seward's legislation.