MARTIN, Tenn., Sep 15, 2011 -- Providing access to needed farming supplies is paramount to the expansion of locally grown produce. USDA Rural Development is helping to provide that access in Martin with the repair of the Ellis Street railroad crossing.
RD State Director Bobby Goode and other local officials were on hand to announce federal funding of the repairs to the crossing today at the Martin City Hall.
"Small business and family farms are the economic engines of rural communities, creating jobs and help maintain a healthy, diversified local economy," said Goode. "Investments made to improve the availability of necessary products for farmers to produce those products ultimately lowers transportation costs and creates opportunities for families to eat high quality, good tasting locally produced food."
Martin Mayor Randy Brundige said the $25,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant will be combined with $25,000 from the city and $119,107 in funding from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to repair the crossing. The repairs will allow better access to the Weakley County Farmers Co-op Fertilizer Plant and will increase the employment at the co-op by 42 people.
Rural Development business programs help local governments and non-profit organizations improve local business infrastructure and promote job growth. Business loans provide needed financing for rural businesses and loan-guarantees are also available to help private lenders to increase the pool of investment capital available for business start-up, modernization and expansion in eligible rural areas.
Others participating in the event included Sen. Lamar Alexander’s representative Matt Varino, Rep. Stephen Fincher’s representative Dale Hendon, Weakley County Mayor Houston Patrick, Martin Aldermen Danny Nanney, Bill Harrison, David Belote and Randy Edwards, Tennessee Department of Transportation representative Whitney Sullivan, Northwest Tennessee Development District Executive Director John Bucy, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development representatives Blake Swaggart and Janna Hellums, Weakley County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Virgin, Weakley County Economic Development Board President Ronnie Price, University of Tennessee-Martin Provost Dr. Jerald Ogg, Weakley County Farmers’ Coop representatives Thomas Chandler and Terry Hankins, RD Area Director Harriet Cannon and RD Area Staff Van Wylie and Brenda Horner.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. During the last two years the agency assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses, investing more than $1.3 billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Northwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Union City at 731-885-6480 ext. 4, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1497 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410,
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