Alexandria, La., Apr 14, 2014 -- Two small, rural Louisiana businesses will be able to create jobs and expand regional economic development opportunities as the U. S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development today announced the companies would receive $8.5 million in financing from USDA.
"USDA supports small rural businesses throughout America to help increase access to capital, strengthen businesses and improve the local and regional economies," said Lillian Salerno, administrator of USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service. "The funding that I am announcing today will help two Louisiana businesses save and create an estimated 300 jobs."
Today, Salerno will meet with the owners of New Orleans-based Chisesi Brothers Meat Packing Company. During that visit, she will announce that the company will receive a $7.1 million loan guarantee to purchase, process, package and sell meats and other food items made mostly in Louisiana. This USDA funding is expected to save 86 jobs and create 10 new ones.
On Tuesday, Salerno will tour the Central Louisiana Business Incubator in Alexandria . She will meet with the recipient of a $1.3 million USDA loan gurarantee that will help save 201 jobs for workers at the Sylvia’s Caring Companions health services firm. The company provides personal care services to elderly residents and people with disabilities. The USDA-backed loan will also provide start-up funding for the St. Edwards Funeral Home in Bunkie. It is expected to create four jobs.
These businesses are located in the parish of Avoyelles, a designated StrikeForce area. USDA's StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative is USDA’s commitment to increasing investments and creating opportunities in low-income rural communities. StrikeForce was launched in 2010 as a pilot project in rural Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi. It now includes designated areas in 20 states, including, Louisiana.
Salerno concluded her visit to the state by addressing attendees of the annual meeting of the Shreveport Federal Credit Union (which serves customers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas) and informing them of the many business and economic development programs that USDA Rural Development has available to assist rural communities.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, health, education, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. In Fiscal Year 2013, the agency invested almost $1 billion in rural Louisiana through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
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.
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