Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the award of $22.5 million in loans and grants for organizations in nine states to promote rural economic development.
"These infrastructure investments will help rural residents start or expand a business," Vilsack said. "The funds can be used for a wide range of needs. They can help businesses increase production and manufacturing capacity, and can even help rural homeowners save money by making their homes more energy efficient."
The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Under this program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. These revolving loan funds broaden the program's reach and create a multiplier effect for its impact. Eligible applicants are USDA Rural Utilities Service borrowers. Vilsack noted that innovative USDA investments through this program are boosting economic development in rural communities all across the country.
The Midland Power Cooperative in Jefferson, Iowa, is receiving a $1 million loan to help the Precision Tank & Equipment Company expand its operations. Precision manufactures tanks and specialized equipment for agribusiness and other industry needs. It is building a manufacturing facility in Humboldt, Iowa. The project will create 14 jobs.
The Aiken Electric Cooperative in South Carolina is receiving a $1 million loan that will provide working capital to KW Savings Co. KW Savings is a non-profit group dedicated to environmental protection and energy conservation. Examples of assistance to be provided include installing insulation or energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. The project will create about 19 full-time jobs over a three-year period. USDA provided REDLG funding in 2011 for a similar pilot project with KW Savings and the Central Electric Power Cooperative, another South Carolina utility.
In total, Vilsack announced today $22.5 million in loans and grants for REDLG projects in nine states.
Awards for the recipients of the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program are contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.
USDA also announced REDLG funding awards last month. Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, the REDLG program has helped create or save more than 25,000 rural jobs, provided almost $202 million in economic development assistance, improved manufacturing capability, expanded health care and educational facilities and helped expand or establish almost 1,000 rural businesses and community projects.
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 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.