WASHINGTON - On Oct. 17 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 112 recipients in 38 states, Washington, DC, and the Western Pacific 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 (REDLG) 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, Heartland Consumers Power District in Madison, S.D., has been selected for a $1,000,000 loan and a $300,000 grant and Sioux Valley - Southwestern Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Colman, S.D., has been selected for a grant of $300,000 to provide loans to rural utilities program borrowers to provide economic development. Both projects will assist Madison Community Hospital with equipment purchases. For more information about the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_redlg.html.
Secretary Vilsack also announced the selection of 35 organizations for Rural Cooperative Development grants to provide technical and business development assistance in rural areas. The Value Added Agriculture Development Center, Inc. based in Pierre has been selected for a $175,000 grant to support an existing Center that will provide assistance to individuals and entities in the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural businesses, especially those that are cooperatively or mutually owned. For more information about the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_RCDG.html.
Inter Tribal Buffalo Council based in Rapid City is one of 19 organizations selected nationwide for Rural Development grants to help small and socially disadvantaged farmers. It has been selected for a $175,000 award to provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged producers in rural areas.
Through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant program, South Dakota organizations include Lakota Fund, Inc. based in Kyle has been selected for a $58,579 award to facilitate a technology-based economic development system by utilizing technical assistance for training and one-one one business coaching for individuals in construction trades; Four Bands Community Fund, Inc. based in Eagle Butte has been selected for a $50,000 award to implement the Business Finance SutainAbility Exchange Program and provide technical assistance to businesses on the reservation; and South Dakota State University based in Brookings has been selected for a $50,000 award to develop a strategy to build capacity in South Dakota's local food system through the establishment of a Local Foods Center which would create a structured connection between local growers and resource providers.
With this announcement, USDA is investing more than $20 million to spur economic growth. For a complete list of recipients that have been selected for funding, go to http://tinyurl.com/8l6gvnc. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.