Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says funding is being provided to producers and development organizations in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to promote job creation and business development. In all, the 69 awards total more than 14.7-million dollars. A portion of the funding is intended to support Rural Economic Area Partnership efforts. Grants and loans are subject to the conditions outlined in the agreement.
Seven awards will be made in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, which is recognized as a USDA “Great Region.” Another recipient is in Ravenna, Ohio. Neighborhood Development Services Inc. has been selected for a 500-thousand dollar Intermediary Relending Program loan to provide low-interest financing to public and non-profit groups for business and community development. Rural Development support will be used in Nebraska and South Dakota to assist in funding market research and business development efforts through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Food Processing Center.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development 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.