JOHANNS ANNOUNCES OVER $17 MILLION IN FUNDING TO PROMOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
MAYSVILLE, Ky., May 31, 2006 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the award of 67 loans and grants totaling over $17 million to fund targeted rural economic development projects in 23 states. The funds will create or save an estimated 1,400 jobs.
"Job creation in rural communities is a very important component of the Bush Administration's commitment to a strong economy," said Johanns. "This funding will help promote new job opportunities by establishing new businesses and helping existing businesses to grow."
Nationwide in the past 12 months nearly 2 million jobs have been created in the U.S. and more than 5.2 million jobs have been created since August of 2003, according to Department of Labor statistics.
Among the grants announced today was $199,000 to Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation to capitalize a revolving loan fund in Clinton County, Kentucky. The initial funds will be used to purchase equipment, medicine and provide working capital for a company that provides home infusion therapy to patients recently released from hospitals in a nine-county area of Southern Kentucky. Administrative services will be provided including coordination with physicians, patients, pharmacists, home health agencies and medical equipment supply firms, employing about 25 people by the end of the second year of operation.
Other funds announced today will benefit members of Native American and Alaska Native tribes, communities in the Mississippi Delta region, areas designated as enterprise zones or enterprise communities, and participants in Rural Economic Area Partnership programs. For example, in the Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone, which includes three counties, a $750,000 loan through the USDA Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program will be used recapitalize a revolving loan fund, resulting in the creation of an estimated 42 new jobs. Fifty-seven existing jobs will be saved.
In Washington State, $48,000 in Rural Development funds awarded through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program will be used to complete a feasibility study and business plan for development of a wood waste conversion project to produce bio-oil, charcoal, heat and combustible gasses. It is expected that the oil will be used to power small scale generators on the Quinault Indian Reservation. The project is expected to generate 18 new jobs within the first three years of operation and create additional value-added businesses that will also provide new jobs.
States receiving funding are Alaska, Ariz., Calif., Ga., Hawaii, Idaho, Ill, Ky., Maine, Minn., N.C., N.D., N.M., Okla., Ore, S.C., S.D., Tenn., Utah, Vt., Wash., Wis., and Wyo. A complete list of the loans and grants announced today is available at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development has invested more than $63 billion since the beginning of the Bush Administration to provide equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. As a result, more than 1.1 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.