Lexington, KY, Oct 28, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the selection of 36 organizations in 26 states for grants to help rural cooperatives and small businesses expand, create jobs and strengthen their capacity to serve rural citizens and communities.
“These grants help cooperatives support local projects and initiatives that create jobs and improve rural economic conditions,” Vilsack said. “As we celebrate National Cooperative Month, USDA is proud to continue its support of local and regional efforts to bolster these cooperatives and help them bring increased value and economic opportunity to rural residents.”
Tom Fern, Kentucky State Director for Rural Development, said $225,000 has been awarded to the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) to improve the economic conditions of rural communities by providing hands-on cooperative development assistance and educational programs. KCARD works to improve the economic conditions in rural communities by promoting new cooperative efforts and working to improve existing cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses.
“I am pleased that Rural Development was able to award these grant funds to KCARD to support their development efforts to assist new and existing cooperatives,” said Fern.
The grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant program. Under this program, grants of up to $225,000 may be awarded to colleges, universities and non-profit groups to create and operate centers that help individuals or groups establish, expand or operate rural businesses, especially cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses. Grants may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services. Rural Housing Service Administrator Tammye Treviño announced the recipients on behalf of Secretary Vilsack.
Vilsack announced more than $7.9 million in economic development loans and grants this week. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
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.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).