News Release
Release No.STELPRD4015253
ContactVicki Schurman402-437-5563
Washington, DC, Mar 20, 2012 --

@@Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development. The funding is being provided under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.

"Boosting access to capital sparks job creation and revitalizes the rural economy," said Vilsack. "USDA works in partnership with cooperatives and utilities across America, and we intend to utilize this program to leverage federal and private investments to put rural residents to work."

Eligible recipients are USDA rural utilities program borrowers. Those recipients pass the funds to local organizations. The funding is leveraged to create projects that retain or create jobs and upgrade public infrastructure. The maximum amount of funding for any one project is $1 million for loans and $300,000 for grants.

Organizations use REDLG funds to create jobs and improve services. For example, in 2011, Three River Telco in Lynch, Nebraska received a $740,000 Rural Economic Development Loan that is being relent to the Brown County Hospital at zero percent interest for a new multi-slice computerized tomography (CT) scanner and building addition to house the new scanner. As a result, medical care is improved for the many rural residents of Brown, Blaine, Cherry, Keya Paha and Rock counties that are served by the hospital. This project results in two part time jobs.

USDA plans to award up to $79 million in loan and $10 million in grants through the program. The deadline for submitting applications is the last business day of each month through September 30th of 2012. In Nebraska, applications must be submitted to a USDA Rural Development office. Contact:

    • Lincoln State Office at (402) 437-5558 which serves statewide, all counties.

    • Norfolk Office at (402) 371-5350 ext. 1002 which serves the northeast and southeast counties.

    • Kearney Office at (308) 237-3118 serving the north and south central counties.

    • Scottsbluff Office at (308) 632-2195 ext. 1132 serving the Panhandle including northwest and southwest counties.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs and for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.

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 $165 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.