News Release
Release No.STELPRD4021700
ContactMolly Hammond(217) 403-6203
Ottawa, Illinois, Jul 30, 2013 --

@@U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse today joined local officials, including Ottawa Mayor Robert Eschbach, to announce funding to help increase the attractiveness of the community’s downtown area.

“USDA and the Obama Administration support efforts to create jobs and increase economic activity in rural America,” said Scuse. “We want local business leaders to know they can count on getting help from partners that can assist them in their efforts to grow, hire and succeed.  Today’s announcement demonstrates that commitment.”

Scuse was in Ottawa to announce the award of a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) for a streetscape renovation project. The 200 block of West Main Street supports several small shops but, like many “Main Streets” in small town America, it also has some empty storefronts. Grant funds will be used to increase “curb appeal,” which in turn will help drive more small businesses and consumers to the area.

The acting deputy secretary also moderated a roundtable discussion with administrators and students at Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC). Topics included the President’s Climate Change Action Plan, USDA’s role in renewable energy investments, and a discussion of the need for a five-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. Scuse said the bill is designed to continue the expansion of America’s rural economy, and that’s a primary reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill passed as soon as possible.

Following the roundtable, Scuse toured the campus, where IVCC is building a community technical center. In 2011, the college was awarded a USDA RBEG to help fund the construction of wind turbine training equipment that models the actual equipment found inside real wind turbines. The grant is one piece of a much larger project designed to accelerate the entry of students into the local workforce.

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 has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the agency 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.


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).