The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $11.8 million in rural loans and grants to organizations across 11 states.
The announcement was made by John Padalino, the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service Administrator, while he was in Austin, Texas for the National Rural Economic Developers Association annual meeting.
The zero-interest funding is being provided to local utilities through the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.
The utilities will then fund local projects that will help retain and create jobs in rural areas. There are 26 projects being funded in today’s announcement.
In Illinois, the EnerStar Electric Cooperative is getting a million dollar loan to help the Coshocton Grain Company buy grain handling equipment. This project will save five existing jobs and create four new ones.
In Nebraska, the City of Gothenburg is getting $300,000 grant that will go towards a loan fund for Gothenburg Memorial Hospital’s effort to modernize its electronic medical records system. This project will save four jobs and create three new ones.
In North Carolina, the French Broad Electric Membership Corporation is likewise getting a $300,000 grant for a loan fund that will be used to set up an advanced manufacturing school at a community college.
In South Dakota, Codington Clark Electric Cooperative, Inc. will get a $300,000 grant for a loan fund that will be used to construct a building for a business expansion that will create 75 new jobs.
In Tennessee, the Town of Erwin Board of Public Utilities is getting a $375,000 loan to buy an industrial property and 16 acres of land that will be used to attract new businesses to Unicoi County.
In the last five years or so, the REDLG program has helped create 25,000 rural jobs with the help of $200 million in economic development funding. In the same period, the program has helped establish or expand more than 900 business and community projects in rural areas.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA investments announced today would provide local organizations and rural businesses access to new markets and more capital, allowing them to increase hiring and expand.
Contact the USDA Rural Development State Office in your state to apply for funding under the REDLG program. Eligible projects include funding for business startup and expansions, incubators, community development, training facilities and other education program expenses, health care, etc.