Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 112 recipients in 38 states, Washington, DC, and the Western Pacific for loans and grants to help spur rural economic development and create or save jobs.
"These awards illustrate the important impact that economic development assistance can have on small towns and rural communities," Vilsack said. "Whether the funding is given directly to individuals or businesses, or indirectly through utilities and other intermediaries, the results are the same: new jobs, stronger economies and more vibrant communities."
USDA is providing assistance through several Rural Development programs. In one, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program, utilities receive zero-interest loans that they pass through to local businesses for projects to create and retain jobs in rural areas. For example, Lawrenceburg Utility Systems in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., has been selected for a $260,000 grant to provide financing to the Twenty-First Century Council of Lawrence County. The council will help the current tenant of an industrial building expand production. For more information about the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_redlg.html.
Secretary Vilsack also announced today the selection of 35 organizations for Rural Cooperative Development grants to provide technical and business development assistance in rural areas. The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Education and Charitable Foundation, Inc. has been selected for a $175,000 grant to support a business development center for newly formed cooperatives in Colorado. In Dennison, Minn., the Food Co-op Initiative has been selected for a grant, also $175,000, to support a center that will help create businesses and establish new markets for local producers. For more information about the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_RCDG.html.
Kentucky's Center for Agriculture and Rural Development is one of 19 organizations selected nationwide for Rural Development grants to help small and socially disadvantaged farmers. It has been selected for a $107,825 award to provide technical assistance to producers who are interested or already engaged in alternative enterprises such as horticulture, aquaculture or pasture poultry.
Through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant program, Montana's Crow Tribe of Indians has been selected for a $50,000 grant to prepare an economic development plan for the reservation. The plan will focus on developing energy and mining resources.
With today's announcement, USDA is investing more than $20 million to spur economic growth. For a complete list of recipients that have been selected for funding, go to ( http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/rdEconomicDevNRCHARTOct2012.pdf). Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.
USDA Rural Development programs have a strong track record of helping to create rural economic opportunity. In Somerset, Ky., the Pulaski County Industrial Development Foundation, Inc. used REDLG loans and grants totaling $429,000 to open a 38,000-square-foot, facility to train field technicians for jobs in the utility industry. In the first year after the facility opened in September 2010, 180 low- to- moderate-income participants received training. Of these, more than 72 percent have been placed in permanent jobs. The Industrial Development Foundation received the REDLG funding as a pass-through from the South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation.
For other examples of USDA investments in rural communities, please visit Rural Development's new interactive web map at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html. The map features program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way -- strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $174 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.