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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Economic Development Funding to Support Business Growth, Create Jobs in Rural Areas

WASHINGTON, August 21, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 16 recipients for grants to help spur economic development and create or save jobs in 17 states.

"The funding I am announcing today will help rural businesses, entrepreneurs and tribal communities obtain the financing they need to grow their businesses and create jobs," Vilsack said. "These grants and loans represent the Obama administration's commitment to expand capital investments, spur business development and make infrastructure improvements to strengthen our small towns and communities."

USDA Rural Development is providing assistance through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which provides grants to small and emerging rural businesses for projects such as distance learning networks and employment-related adult education programs. Rural public entities (towns, communities, State agencies and municipal authorities), Indian tribes and rural, private non-profit corporations are eligible to apply for funding under this program. For more information about the program, visit

The Windsor Restoration and Historical Association, Inc. in Del Norte, Colo., has been selected to receive a grant to renovate the Windsor Hotel complex and create a conference center that will be used by small rural businesses. It is estimated that four businesses will be helped and 27 jobs created. In Maine, Pine Crest Development Corporation will use a grant to help develop a data center as part of the redevelopment of a former manufacturing complex in downtown Dover-Foxcroft. The funding is expected to help create or save 23 jobs and assist seven businesses. The city of Harrison, Mich., is receiving a grant to convert a building into a business and product incubator and commercial kitchen. This project is expected to create or save 38 jobs.

The RBEG program continues to bring economic opportunity to rural communities. For example, USDA provided a grant to the city of Eloy, Ariz., in 2010 to develop an incubator to house eight emerging businesses. The grant enabled the city to obtain the former post office from a family trust that had owned the building. The incubator is providing quality, low-cost office and retail space, office equipment, and software for the participating businesses. Sharing these resources has reduced expenses for the eight growing businesses. The incubator also is helping to bring businesses, jobs and services back to an area where shuttered storefronts had existed. In Florida, the city of Port St. Joe used an RBEG grant in 2011 to help revitalize its downtown business district by adding 26 additional parking spaces and sidewalks for easier access to local businesses.

For a list of all recipients selected for funding under today's announcement please go to Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

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 $172 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.


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