Temple, Texas, May 20, 2014 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of funding to promote long-term economic growth and community vitality in rural areas. With the announcement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invites applications for funding through two community and economic development programs administered by USDA Rural Development.
“USDA is committed to helping rural communities access the resources they need to implement strategies that will invigorate the economy, reduce poverty and enhance the quality of life in our small towns and rural areas for years to come,” Vilsack said.
“USDA Rural Development’s mission is to provide assistance that will increase the economic conditions of rural communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director. “By providing these grants, we promote sustainable economic development in rural communities and regions with exceptional needs.”
The announcement includes $30.6 million in zero-interest loans and $9.2 million in grants to establish revolving loan funds that finance business and economic development activities in rural areas. Applications for these funds will be accepted through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Program. Rural utilities that are eligible for USDA financing under the Rural Electrification Act and have the capacity to serve as intermediary lenders may apply to USDA Rural Development to administer the funds locally for the benefit of specifically identified projects. These intermediaries re-lend REDLG funds at zero percent to assist with business startup and expansion, business technical assistance and job training, and community facilities projects that support economic development. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis at the Texas State Office, 101 South Main Street, Suite 102, Temple, Texas 76501. Applications received by 4:30 p.m. on the last business day of each month will be considered for funding the following month. More information can be found on page 25101 of the May 2, 2014 Federal Register or online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-05-02/pdf/2014-10096.pdf.
In addition, USDA announces the availability of two individual grants from funds appropriated for the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program: a single $500,000 grant for rural transportation projects and a single $250,000 grant for Federally Recognized Native American Tribes. Funds may be used to provide technical assistance and training to help rural communities improve passenger transportation services or facilities. Applications must be received in the Texas State Office, 101 South Main Street, Suite 102, Temple, Texas 76501 no later than 4:30 p.m. on July 1, 2014. More information can be found on page 25098 of the May 2, 2014 Federal Register or online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-05-02/pdf/2014-10084.pdf.
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.