WASHINGTON, Jun 26, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 28 recipients for loans and grants to spur economic development and create or save jobs in rural communities. For Tennessee, both Gibson Electric Membership Corp. and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative were included in the announcement.
"The funding I am announcing today will help rural businesses, entrepreneurs and tribal communities obtain the financing they need to grow their businesses and create jobs," Vilsack said.
USDA Rural Development (RD) Rural Economic Development Loans and grants are partnerships with local electric cooperatives that use the funding to provide affordable financing for projects in their service areas that create good jobs and improve the lives of people in rural communities.
In West Tenn., Gibson Electric will use a $1 million zero-interest economic development loan to provide affordable financing for expansion by Advantage Manufacturing in Friendship, Tenn. Advantage is expanding operations and will use the funding for the purchase of new injection molding equipment to increase production capacity and add new product lines. The expansion is expected to generate up to 50 new jobs in the region. Advantage is investing an additional $250,000 in capital to the project.
Past partnerships between Gibson and USDA have invested in the expansion of businesses that impacted at least 300 jobs in the area. The two organizations have also worked together on expansion of the Everett Stewart Regional Airport and construction of the Crockett County Higher Education Center.
In Middle Tenn., Caney Fork will use an economic development zero-interest loan of $740,000 and grant of $300,000 to provide financing to the Warren County Industrial Development Board to build a new 62,500 square foot prospect building in Mountain View Industrial Park. Industrial buildings like this typically provide a competitive advantage for communities when they market to prospective manufacturing employers.
Caney Fork and USDA have partnered on 21 prior rural economic development loans and grants and two Intermediary Relending Program grants that have assisted more than 60 businesses in the region. Together these have impacted at least 1,600 jobs so far. Past recipients of funding include Southern Manufacturing Group in Morrison, Tenn. and Precision Molding Inc., in Sparta.
Vilsack said, "These grants and loans represent the Obama Administration's commitment to ensure that rural communities attract capital investments that lead to successful business development, job creation, infrastructure improvements, and economically vibrant communities."
For a list of all recipients selected for funding under today's announcement, please click here. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.
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 is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, home-ownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. During the last three years the agency has assisted at least 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $2.5 Billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office that serves your county, www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Contacts.html, or call toll free at 800-342-3149.
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).