Bangor, ME, Mar 05, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager announced today that USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development.
“President Obama emphasized in his recent State of the Union address that we need to continue to do more to create jobs to sustain the current economic recovery,” Tonsager said. “With the loans and grants we are making available, USDA Rural Development will work closely with cooperatives and utilities that in turn help local businesses access capital and technical assistance. Our support leverages additional private investments and demonstrates the positive impact that public-private partnerships can have on rural communities and economies.”
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “This program provides an opportunity for eligible Maine organizations to contribute to job growth and business and economic development, and can help strengthen Maine’s rural communities. I hope that some of our rural utilities program borrowers will take advantage of these vital funds.”
The funding is being provided under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Eligible recipients are rural utilities program borrowers that pass the funds to local organizations. The money must be used for projects to retain and create jobs, upgrade public infrastructure, improve service delivery or improve the quality of life for area residents and visitors. The maximum amount of funding for any one project is increased to $1,000,000 for loans and remains at $300,000 for grants.
USDA plans to award up to $33 million in loans and $10 million in grants under this notice and has an additional $46 million in loan funding available from previous fiscal years for a total of
$79 million in loan funding. The deadline for submitting applications is the last business day of each month during FY 2012. Applications must be submitted to the Rural Development state office where the project will be located. A list of these offices is available on the USDA Rural Development web site, http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html, or on page 12792 of the March 2 Federal Register, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-02/pdf/2012-5043.pdf.
The primary objective of the program is to promote rural economic development and job creation projects. Assistance provided to rural areas, as defined, under this program may include business startup costs, business expansion, business incubators, technical assistance feasibility studies, advanced telecommunications services and computer networks for medical, educational, and job training services and community facilities projects for economic development.
Loans and grants may be made to any entity that is identified by USDA Rural Development as an eligible borrower under the Rural Electrification Act. In accordance with 7 CFR 4280.13, applicants that are not delinquent on any Federal debt or otherwise disqualified from participation in these programs are eligible to apply. An applicant must be eligible under 7 U.S.C. 940c.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 83 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.