Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday announced the selection of 112 recipients in 39 states for loans and grants to help spur rural economic development and create or save jobs.
"These awards illustrate the important impact that economic development assistance can have on small towns and rural communities," Vilsack said. "Whether the funding is given directly to individuals or businesses, or indirectly through utilities and other intermediaries, the results are the same: new jobs, stronger economies and more vibrant communities."
USDA is providing assistance through several Rural Development programs. In one, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, utilities receive zero-interest loans that they pass through to local businesses for projects to create and retain jobs in rural areas.
For example, Lawrenceburg Utility Systems in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., has been selected for a $260,000 grant to provide financing to the Twenty-First Century Council of Lawrence County. The council will help the current tenant of an industrial building expand production.
Vilsack also announced the selection of 35 organizations for Rural Cooperative Development grants to provide technical and business development assistance in rural areas.
In Dennison, Minn., the Food Co-op Initiative has been selected for a grant, also $175,000, to support a center that will help create businesses and establish new markets for local producers.
Through the USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant program, Montana's Crow Tribe of Indians has been selected for a $50,000 grant to prepare an economic development plan for the reservation. The plan will focus on developing energy and mining resources.
Kentucky's Center for Agriculture and Rural Development is one of 19 organizations selected nationwide for Rural Development grants to help small and socially disadvantaged farmers. It has been selected for a $107,825 award to provide technical assistance to producers who are interested or already engaged in alternative enterprises such as horticulture, aquaculture or pasture poultry.
With today's announcement, USDA is investing more than $20 million to spur economic growth.
Visit the USDA's Rural Development website for a complete list of recipients that have been selected for funding.