WASHINGTON, December 20, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of recipients for grants and loans to help spur economic development and create or save jobs in rural communities in seven Midwestern and Southern states.

“This funding will help rural businesses create sustainable, quality jobs,” Vilsack said. “These projects demonstrate the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to ensure that rural communities attract the investments they need to support business development.

Funding will be provided to applicants in Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and Tennessee. USDA Rural Development is providing support through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), which provides zero-interest loans to local utilities that they, in turn, pass through to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas.

For example, Tennessee-based Tri-County Electric Membership Cooperative was selected to receive a $996,000 loan that will be used to help construct a health clinic in Tompkinsville, Ky., in Monroe County, that will be leased to Cumberland Family Medical Center. The project is expected to create approximately 65 jobs. In Nebraska, the City of Lexington was selected to receive a $300,000 grant. The funds will be used to upgrade servers and computer networks for the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system for the Lexington Regional Health Center.

With today’s announcement USDA is investing more than $6.1 million to create economic opportunity. The following is a list of rural utilities that will receive funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

Missouri

Ralls County Electric Cooperative – $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to help Moberly Area community College build a campus facility in Hannibal that offers vocational training to area residents.
 
For more information about the REDLG program, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_redlg.html

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 Tom 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 an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These 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.