Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding to Create Jobs and Strengthen Economic Development in Rural Communities
WASHINGTON, August 2, 2012 – 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.
- Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association – $740,000 loan and a $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to purchase fire equipment for Platte Valley Fire District Foundation for a new fire station in Kersey, CO. This project will create an estimated 15 new jobs and retain 48 jobs.
- Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative— $120,000 grant. Funds will be used to provide financing to the City of Barry for the construction of a sewer lift station. This development is an integral part of a business expansion plan and will add about 60 jobs to the area.
- Butler Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. – $702,500 loan. Funds will be used to support the expansion of the Asbury Park, Inc. retirement community in Newton.
- Midwest Energy, Inc. – $1,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to by Midwest Development, Inc. to fund the House$Smart program, which provides financial support for energy efficiency improvements.
- Jackson Energy Cooperative Corp. – $227,000 grant. Funds will be used to help the London-Laurel Industrial Development Authority retrofit an industrial building and convert it for use as a distribution center.
- Lismore Cooperative Telephone Company – $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to establish a revolving loan fund for economic development projects in and near Rock County.
- Lismore Cooperative Telephone Company – $740,000 loans. Funds will be used to build a new feed mill.
- Traverse Electric Cooperative – $223,000 grant. Funds will be used to finance an extension of city streets to a development.
- Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services -- $1,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to remodel and purchase equipment. This project will create up to 25 new jobs.
- Coast Electric Power Association – $300,000 grant and $740,000 loan. Funds will be used by the Hancock County Development Commission to purchase an industrial site and build a "fuel farm" facility for a jet engine test facility, which Rolls Royce will lease at the Stennis Space Center.
- South Mississippi Electric Power Association – $1,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to assist The Clint Williams Company in purchasing machinery, equipment, and to finance the construction of an industrial peanut buying-point facility in Greenwood, Mississippi. The project will create about 18 new jobs.
- White River Valley Electric Cooperative – $194,000 loan. Funds will be used to provide a loan to help a local business expand.
- White River Valley Electric Cooperative – $740,000 loan and $300,000 grant. Funds will 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.
- Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association – $1,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to construct the first of two phases of the Chadron State College Rangeland Agricultural Center and Pavilion on the campus.
- City of Cozad – $130,119 grant. Funds will be used to help Cozad Memorial Hospital buy an ultrasound machine, including server storage and a digital phone system.
- Verendrye Electric Cooperative Inc. – $1,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to finance the construction of a 7,000-square-foot store near Velva.
- Kingsbury Electric Cooperative – $100,000 grant. Funds will be used to help four townships in Kingsbury County – De Smet, Manchester, Matthews and Sprint Lake – buy a pumper truck for the De Smet Fire Department.
- Farmers Telephone Cooperative, Inc. – $1,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to buy equipment and provide working capital for MIT-RCF, LLC. The company develops innovative technical solutions for the manufacture of complex-shaped, performance composite parts for the aerospace, automotive, defense, mass transit and recreational sporting goods markets.
- Winchester Utilities -- $740,000 loan. Funds will be used to provide loans to rural utilities program borrowers to provide economic development. This project will assist with the purchase and renovation of an industrial building for a boat manufacturer. The project is expected to create 21 new jobs and impact 40 jobs.
- Fort Loudon Electric Cooperative – $71,820 loan. Funds will be used to assist with the purchase and installation of a heating and cooling system for Sequoyah High School in Monroe County, Tennessee.
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 and strengthening 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 $170 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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).