Topeka, KS, May 18, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 12 recipients in nine states for loans and grants to spur economic development and create or save jobs in rural areas. One of those recipients was the Lyon-Coffey Electric Cooperative in Burlington.
USDA Rural Development is providing loans and grants through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which, in turn, lend the money to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. The ultimate recipients repay the utility directly.
“The REDLG program is a great partnership with our local Kansas cooperatives to provide support to our rural entrepreneurs,” stated USDA Rural Development State Director Patty Clark. “Rural Kansans are innovative by nature, and by providing support from the federal government at key junctures in the growth strategy of a business, we can help provide income and job growth in our rural communities.”
The Lyon-Coffey Electric Cooperative received a $28,000 rural economic development loan from USDA Rural Development to support D’s Machining in Hartford. D’s Machining, a start-up machining company, is using the funds to purchase equipment to begin refitting combine heads.
Ray Hutson, Assistant Manager at Lyon-Coffey Electric Cooperative said, “The Cooperative participates in the REDLG program because it helps stimulate the rural economy, and it is a good opportunity for our customers.”
Helping his son with custom harvesting for the past couple of years, David Schmidt owner of D’s Machining, noticed that several farmers liked the new designs of combine draper heads, but didn’t like the high price tag associated with them. Schmidt, with his experience as a machinist, began experimenting with refitting an older rigid style combine header into a new draper style. He figured out how to successfully remove an auger from a used combine head, manufacture the draper components, and reassemble the new draper head. The refitted combine heads created by D’s Machining are significantly cheaper than new and used draper heads.
“I have more than 30 years of experience in the machining industry, and after I lost my job in town it seemed like the logical thing for me to do was to continue helping customers with machining needs by opening my own business,” stated Schmidt. “I enjoy being able to recycle an old metal part, and turning it into a product that can help farmers be more efficient in their operation.”
D’s Machining also offers basic repair work for local farmers and small businesses in the area. The business is located at Schmidt’s home outside of Hartford, which he said will allow him to have more flexible hours for customers.
Since 2008, USDA Rural Development has provided $18.5 million in financing to rural Kansas utility companies for economic development in rural Kansas 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.
For additional information regarding this and other USDA Rural Development programs visit the Agency’s website http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/KS, or call the Agency’s state office at 785-271-2700.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).