Portland, Oct 18, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday announced the selection of 112 recipients for loans and grants through USDA Rural Development to help spur economic development and create or save jobs throughout rural America. The announcement includes $300,000 in support of improvements at Good Shepherd Medical Center’s (GSMC) Surgical Center in Hermiston, Oregon, as well as $175,000 to help the Northwest Development Cooperative Center assist rural cooperatives in the region.
“These awards illustrate the broad impact that USDA Rural Development’s assistance has 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.”
Funding for Good Shepherd Medical Center will help with the purchase of equipment and fixtures to complete a $5.3 million expansion of the surgical center. The expansion is expected to create 10 permanent new jobs at the facility.
To support the project, USDA will provide a $300,000 Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) to capitalize a community development revolving loan fund administered by Umatilla Electric Cooperative. The funds will, in turn, be loaned to Good Shepherd Medical Center with a zero-percent interest rate for ten years. As the hospital repays the loan, the funds can be made available as no-interest financing for additional community and economic development projects. When the revolving loan fund is terminated, the grant will be repaid to USDA.
Support for the Northwest Development Cooperative Center (NWCDC), along with 34 other organizations providing technical and business development assistance to rural cooperatives across the country, is provided through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program. The nonprofit NWCDC helps new and existing cooperative businesses in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Hawaii conduct organizational and business planning activities, such as feasibility assessment, strategic planning, market research, board training, and more. NWCDC’s current work in Oregon includes assistance to Port Orford Sustainable Seafood, Siskiyou Sustainable, and rural community groceries. In addition, the USDA funds allow NWCDC to consult with other rural groups considering the cooperative business model as a way to solve economic and social needs not met in the current marketplace.
Also included in yesterday’s announcement is funding for a number of projects through the Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program and Rural Business Opportunity Grant program for a variety of economic development effort across the country.
With this 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, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development 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.