Washington, DC, Jul 18, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of organizations in 11 states for loans and grants to support job creation efforts, business development and strengthen economic growth in rural communities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“These investments will give rural businesses and local organizations more access to capital and new markets, allowing them to expand and increase hiring,” Vilsack said. “Bringing new jobs to rural communities and saving existing ones is a major goal of the Obama administration and USDA.”
The $11.8 million announced today is being provided through USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG). It provides zero-interest loans and grants to local utilities which then, in turn, re-lends the funds to local businesses (ultimate recipients). The program funds business start-up or expansion, business incubators, education and training facilities and equipment, community development assistance, health care and other community projects that support rural jobs.
In South Dakota the following cooperatives received awards:
• Codington Clark Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to establish a loan fund to build a 41,000-square-foot building to facilitate business expansion. The project will create 75 jobs.
• Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. – $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to establish a loan fund for a new addition to the Madison Elementary School in Huron. The project is expected to create eight jobs and save 45 existing ones.
• Kingsbury Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to establish a loan fund to construct a building for the Horizon Health Care, Inc. medical and dental clinic in DeSmet. This project will create four jobs and save 11.
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 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 a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the Department implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.
USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.