News Release
Release No.STELPRD4018618
ContactJay Fletcher202-690-0498
Vicki Schurman402-437-5563
(OCTOBER 18, 2012) AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES PROJECTS IN NEBRASKA TO CREATE RURAL JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Washington, DC, Oct 18, 2012 --

@@Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the selection of 112 recipients in 39 states, Washington, DC, and the Western Pacific for loans and grants to help spur rural economic development and create or save jobs. Nebraska projects are receiving $360,200.

"These awards illustrate the important impact that economic development assistance can have on small towns and rural communities," Vilsack said. "Whether the funding is given directly to individuals or businesses, or indirectly through utilities and other intermediaries, the results are the same: new jobs, stronger economies and more vibrant communities."

USDA is providing assistance through several Rural Development programs. In one, the Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) program, public bodies, non-profits, cooperatives and Indian Tribes receive grants to provide technical assistance for business development and to conduct economic planning in rural areas. The Nebraska Indian Community College of Macy, Nebraska will receive a $135,200 grant to be used to provide entrepreneurial leadership education and training to students for job development in Thurston and Knox counties by creating a program that can be offered as part of the college’s regularly offered college courses. Six jobs in these two counties will be created.

The Village of Walthill, Nebraska will utilize a $50,000 RBOG to complete a renewable energy feasibility study and a library strategic plan. These will allow the village to determine the next phase of their economic development plan for an energy park and library expansion, which will create five jobs in Thurston county. For more information about the Rural Business Opportunity Grant program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_RBOG.html.

Secretary Vilsack also announced today the selection of 35 organizations for Rural Cooperative Development grants to provide technical and business development assistance in rural areas. The Board of Regents-University of Nebraska has been selected for a $175,000 grant to support a center that will help rural Nebraska businesses form cooperatives. The center will offer technical assistance to businesses that are developing or are considering the development of a cooperatively-owned business. Services offered include needs assessments, planning assistance to development groups, identification of resources, feasibility studies, business plans, market analysis and membership needs and priorities. For more information about the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_RCDG.html.

With today's announcement, USDA is investing more than $20 million to spur economic growth. For a complete list of recipients that have been selected for funding, go to (http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/rdEconomicDevNRCHARTOct2012.pdf). Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

For other examples of USDA investments in rural communities, please visit Rural Development's new interactive web map at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html. The map features program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of 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, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $174 billion in 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.