WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $12.5 million in loans and grants for 39 projects that will help rural businesses in 21 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
"Supporting small, rural businesses helps create jobs and helps promote entrepreneurship," Vilsack said. "USDA Rural Development's field structure enables our community-based staff to engage with local partners and, in turn, enables these partners to provide their local small businesses and start-ups access to the capital and technical assistance they need to be competitive in today's global economy."
USDA is awarding $12.5 million in loans and grants through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program, the Intermediary Relending Program (IRP), the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) program.
The Norris Electric Cooperative in Newton, Ill., will receive a $102,845 Rural Economic Development loan to finance the construction of an office and warehouse for a seed and chemical sales business. Building the 9,600-square-foot facility will enable the business to begin hiring now and plan for future job creation over the next five years.
Community Works, Inc. in Greenville, S.C., will receive a $400,000 RMAP loan and a $100,000 RMAP grant to capitalize a microloan revolving fund, and to provide technical assistance to microentrepreneurs.
The Southeast Economic Development Fund, Inc. in Park Hills, Mo., will use a $75,519 Rural Business Development Grant to provide financial and technical assistance to start-up small businesses and entrepreneurs in low-income communities in the southeast part of the state.
Sixteen economic development groups will receive $8.4 million through the IRP program to capitalize low-interest loan funds for business projects in rural communities.
Funding of each award announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.
USDA Rural Development has a strong track record of strengthening rural businesses and economies through its Rural Business-Cooperative Service, which has helped 85,000 rural businesses since the start of the Obama administration.
For example, Rural Development awarded the Hancock County Senior Services Association a $1 million Rural Economic Development loan, a $300,000 Rural Economic Development grant and a $2.2 million Community Facilities loan to build an assisted-living facility that uses the new "small house" model. The Carthage, Ill., facility, referred to as Maple Grove Apartments, gives patients with dementia and other cognitive issues a home-like and family-oriented environment with a small number of residents per building and central common areas for socializing and meals. This critical Rural Development investment provided the residents of rural Illinois with access to a top-quality facility that will enhance residents' quality of life and create jobs for years to come.
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.
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