Washington, DC, Oct 03, 2011 -- WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding awards that will support rural communities, help create jobs and build regional economies in 34 states.
“The funds I am announcing today will help local business leaders, communities, and disadvantaged agricultural producers take more of a collaborative and regional approach toward jobs creation, business development and economic growth,” said Vilsack.
Projects funded as part of USDA’s regional initiative will focus on strategic planning activities to improve economic conditions in rural areas, particularly in underserved communities. The initiative will help communities to connect and cluster their economies geographically based on their self-identified strengths, so they are able to increase productivity and build more robust, sustainable economies.
The Secretary announced investments through the Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG) program which supports regional planning activities to improve economic conditions in rural areas; the Small and Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant program, and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, which support job creation efforts, business development and strengthens economic growth in rural communities.
Six organizations in Iowa are receiving a total of $1,302,000 in loan and grant funds to help create jobs in rural Iowa. They include:
Rural Business Opportunity Grants:
Mid Iowa Development Association Council of Governments (Fort Dodge, Iowa)
$50,000 grant to assist with an industrial park expansion in the community.
The Wallace Centers of Iowa (Des Moines, Iowa)
$50,000 grant to assist producers in a 12-county area in southwest Iowa in their efforts to add value to their locally grown crops.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Des Moines, Iowa)
$50,000 grant to assist with the expansion of the Pollution Prevention Service’s intern program.
Iowa Foundation for Microenterprise and Community Vitality (Boone, Iowa)
$150,000 grant to help establish a pilot six-state initiative that will organize a network to provide rural entrepreneurs with technical assistance and access to capital.
Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program:
Corn Belt Power Cooperative (Humboldt)
$300,000 grant to Corn Belt Power Cooperative will be loaned to Kossuth Regional Health Center in Algona to assist with the facility renovations.
Central Iowa Power Cooperative (Cedar Rapids)
$702,000 loan to Central Iowa Power Cooperative will assist with the purchase and renovation of a vacant building for a business expansion project at the Blue Grass Industrial Park in Corning, Iowa.
Today’s announcement is part of a series of rural infrastructure investments expected by Secretary Vilsack during the next two weeks. This effort supports the goal of the American Jobs Act, which makes critical infrastructure improvements to put people back to work immediately.
The Obama Administration is making historic investments to build rural America's economy by ensuring access to innovative technologies, promoting production of renewable energy, and investing in community infrastructure and job creation.
On September 8, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act in an address to Congress. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. The American Jobs Act is specific. It will put people back to work right now, and it will not add to the deficit. Through a combination of direct spending, such as infrastructure investments, and tax relief, such as an extension of the payroll tax cuts, it will lead to new American jobs.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.
Contact USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
Further information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by calling (515) 284-4663, or by visiting the agency’s web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
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