Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding for Projects to Create Jobs and New Economic Opportunities for Rural Residents | USDA Newsroom
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Release No. 0054.11
Contact:
Weldon Freeman (202) 690-1384

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding for Projects to Create Jobs and New Economic Opportunities for Rural Residents

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WASHINGTON, February 8, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 16 projects in 10 states for funding to create jobs and provide new economic opportunities. The projects are being funded through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG), which is administered by USDA Rural Development.

"The funding I am announcing today will help rural communities create jobs, support agricultural education, expand access to quality health care and support business development," Vilsack said. "As the President said in his State of the Union Address last week, these investments plant the seeds of progress for our country, and good-paying, private-sector jobs for the American people as we work to win the future."

For example, the Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative in Mattoon, Ill., was selected to receive a $740,000 loan and a $100,000 grant to provide financing that will be used to renovate and modernize the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. The project is expected to create 17 jobs. Heartland Power Cooperative was selected to receive a $740,000 loan to help fund a biodiesel refinery in Forest City, Iowa, that will create 16 jobs. In Trenton, MO., Grundy Electric Cooperative, Inc. received a $740,000 loan to assist North Central Missouri College with the construction of a new agricultural and natural resources campus. The project will increase enrollment in the agriculture program to 200 students and is expected to create two new positions.

REDLG provides funding to rural projects through local utility organizations. Under the program, USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. For more information on this program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_redlg.html.

The following is a complete list of projects announced today. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the loan or grant agreement. Under today's announcement, USDA is investing more than $8.5 million to help rural communities. The loan funds will be leveraged by more than $80 million in private and public financing; while grant funds will be leveraged by more than $54 million in public/private funding.

Iowa

  • The Farmers Mutual Telephone Company of Stanton — $300,000 grant to help build a multi-purpose community center which will include a preschool center, library, recreation and fitness facility and a safe shelter for residents.
  • Heartland Power Cooperative —$740,000 loan to help fund a biodiesel refinery that will be located outside of Forest City, Iowa. This project will create an estimated 16 jobs.
  • Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative — $300,000 grant to help finance a library expansion that will offer more educational programming and training opportunities.
  • Sanborn Electric and Telecommunications Utility — $176,000 grant to enlarge Prairie View Home, nursing home facility.
  • Western Iowa Telephone Association — $300,000 grant to capitalize a local revolving loan fund to help develop office space in Moville.

Illinois

  • Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative — $100,000 grant and $740,000 loan to modernize and renovate the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center hospital. This project is expected to retain an estimated 1,614 jobs and create 17 new positions.

Kansas

  • Blue Valley Tele-Communications, Inc. — $740,000 loan to build and equip a new 5,000 square foot convenience store and retail space in Marysville, Kan, creating an estimated 12 jobs.
  • Bluestem Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $192,000 loan to help construct a new building and purchase equipment and expand a saw mill in Belvue, Kan., a community of 228.
  • Prairie Land Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $300,000 loan to purchase a digital X-Ray machine for the Cloud County Health Center.

Minnesota

  • North Itasca Electric Cooperative — $740,000 loan to remodel and expand the Bigfork Valley Hospital. This project includes building an outpatient pharmacy, a new 24-hour wellness area, dietary kitchen, conference, and dining room, restrooms and a gift shop.

Missouri

  • Grundy Electric Cooperative, Inc. —$740,000 loan that will be used to assist North Central Missouri College with the construction of a new agricultural and natural resources campus to expand their educational program. This project will enlarge enrollment in the program to 200 students and is expected to retain an estimated 21 jobs, and create two new positions.

North Dakota

  • Northern Plains Electric Cooperative —$740,000 loan to help a local company construct a 30,000 square foot warehouse to be located near Jamestown, N.D. This project is expected to retain an estimated 48 jobs and create six jobs.

Oklahoma

  • Alfalfa Electric Cooperative — $740,000 loan to purchase and develop a 500-acre tract that will house a regional industrial rail park along the transcontinental Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway line. The project will facilitate the transport of materials and manufactured goods.

South Carolina

  • Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $740,000 loan to help construct a national brand hotel that will consist of 90-100 rooms and multiple meeting spaces. This project is expected to create approximately 40 jobs.

South Dakota

  • West River Electric Association, Inc. — $720,000 loan to replace water utility lines and make street repairs in the city of Wall. This project is expected to save 200 jobs.

Tennessee

  • Volunteer Energy Cooperative — $248,000 grant to help finance the purchase of a 23-acre tract that will be developed into an industrial park that will help recruit new employers to the area.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. 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. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $146 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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