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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Rural Economic Development Funding

Support Will Create and Retain Employment in Rural America

WASHINGTON, August 22, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of recipients for grants and loans to help spur economic development and create or save jobs in six states.

"This funding will help rural businesses obtain the financing they need to thrive, grow and create jobs," Vilsack said. "These grants and loans are part of the Obama Administration's ongoing commitment to ensure that rural communities attract capital investments that lead to business development and job creation."

The announcement was made in North Carolina on the Secretary's behalf by Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager. USDA Rural Development is providing assistance through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), which provides zero-interest loans to local utilities that they, in turn, pass through to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. For more information about the program, please visit

Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation in Brunswick County, NC, has been selected to receive a $1 million loan to help the Rural Consumer Services Corporation complete energy efficiency improvements. The funding is expected to create nine, full-time direct jobs and save an additional three full-time jobs.

In Reno, Kan., Ark Valley Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. will use a $160,000 loan to purchase the Haven Foodliner Grocery Store in the city of Haven, Reno County. As a result of the purchase, nine jobs will be retained and the small city of Haven will retain its only grocery store.

The REDLG program continues to bring economic opportunity to rural communities. In South Carolina, Piedmont Technical College (PTC) needed funding to connect the McCormick County center to a unique fiber optic interactive network called the Piedmont Educational Network (PEN) and to relocate the PTC McCormick County Center to a larger facility. In 2010, RD provided a $500,000 Rural Economic Development Loan to West Carolina Rural Telephone Cooperative, Inc., which, in turn, made a loan to PTC to relocate and renovate its McCormick County Center. The PTC McCormick County Center moved from a 2,200-square-foot log cabin to a much-larger, newly renovated facility. The new classrooms allow students to participate in classes locally, rather than commuting. PTC is able to offer an expanded program with much-needed broadband access for students and the public.

In Napoleon, N.D., KEM Electric received a $450,000 REDLG loan in 2011 to assist Green Iron Equipment expand its service shop. The company services farm equipment and was able to add 15,000 square feet to its shop and create five new jobs.

With today's announcement, USDA is investing nearly $3.6 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.


  • Hawkeye Tri-County Electric Cooperative – $500,000 loan. This project will help Lime Springs Beef, LLC, build a 13,000-head-per-year beef slaughtering plant in Lime Springs, Iowa. This project will create 41 new jobs.
  • Laurens Municipal Light & Power Plant – $300,000 grant. Laurens will add $60,000 to the funds to create a $360,000 revolving loan fund. The revolving loan fund will make a loan to Laurens Care Center to assist with the renovation of the facility. An estimated 35 jobs will be saved.


  • Ark Valley Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. – $160,000 loan. This project will help purchase Haven, Kansas' only grocery store. As a result of the purchase, nine jobs will be retained.


  • South Mississippi Electric Power Association – $1,000,000 loan. These funds will be used to purchase machinery and equipment and to finance the construction of a 57,600-square-foot industrial peanut-buying facility in Clarksdale, Miss. The project will lead to 10 new jobs upon completion and 23 seasonal jobs.

North Carolina

  • Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation – $1,000,000 loan. This project will provide financing to Rural Consumer Services Corporation, which will then utilize the funds as working capital to complete energy efficiency improvements. The project will create nine full-time direct jobs and help save an additional three full-time jobs.


  • Caddo Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $400,000 loan. These funds will be used to help Kimball and Company, LLC expand an existing veterinary clinic. This project will create or save a total of 18 jobs.

South Dakota

  • Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. – $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to construct a 50,000-square-foot commercial building under the direction of the Greater Huron Development Corp. for Economic Development, in Huron, S.D. The building will attract businesses that will create new jobs in the area. The project is estimated to retain up to 10 jobs.

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.


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).