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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding to Create Jobs and Strengthen Economic Development in Rural Communities

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of projects in 12 states for loans and grants that will support job creation efforts, business development and strengthen economic growth in rural communities. Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager made the announcement on behalf of Secretary Vilsack.

"These investments will give businesses access to capital and new markets, allowing them to expand and increase hiring" Vilsack said. "The Obama Administration is making historic investments in rural America and working to grow our economy, so middle class families feel confident in their futures and their children's futures.

Funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), which provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which, in turn, provide funds to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas.

For example, in Mississippi, Hancock County Development Commission will receive loan and grant funds to buy an industrial site and build a new "fuel farm" facility for a jet engine test complex, which Rolls Royce will lease at the Stennis Space Center. In Missouri, White River Valley Electric Cooperative will receive funds to be used to provide a loan to Ozark Technical College to construct a new campus in Hollister. The campus will allow the college to provide educational and vocational training courses to area residents.

The REDLG program has a record of success. In Leakesville, Miss., community partners and administrators from Jones County Junior College needed more off-campus centers. The college obtained a loan in 2009 through the Community Bank and Singing River Electric Power Association to help fund the construction of the centers. The funds were used to construct, furnish and equip a 17,868-square-foot educational training center.

With today's announcement, USDA is investing nearly $13 million to spur economic growth. The following is a list of rural utilities that will receive funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

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