Lillian Salerno, Administrator for USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service, today announced approval of a $1.8 million loan for an innovative new business in Eastern Kentucky.
Kentucky Dairy Product Innovations (KYPDI) is a health-and-wellness beverage business headquartered in London, Ky., that will become the first U.S. producer of low-calorie, lactose-free skim milk. Using the low-calorie, lactose-free skim milk, the company also has created a new carbonated and flavored dairy product called Fizza that has been approved for sale at middle and high schools across the country.
The funding announced today is provided through USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. It will enable KYDPI to lease-purchase a 12,000-square-foot production facility in the London-Laurel County Industrial Park. The company plans to hire up to 20 employees as a result of USDA’s investment, which is supplemented by other funding from Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation and a Community Development Block Grant.
“Investing in small, rural businesses is essential to continuing the economic revitalization we are seeing today,” said Salerno. “The funding announced today will help support the Obama Administration’s vision by providing rural communities with resources to support small businesses and create new, sustainable jobs.”
Laurel County is one of the 73 Kentucky counties participating in USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, which addresses the unique set of challenges faced by many of America’s rural communities. Through StrikeForce, USDA is leveraging resources and collaborating with more than 100 community organizations, businesses, foundations, universities and other groups to support more than 7,400 projects with more than $500 million in USDA investments in rural Kentucky. USDA StrikeForce teams are actively rebuilding rural economies in 880 counties in 21 states and Puerto Rico.
Through USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, funds are awarded to eligible Rural Utilities Service electric or telecommunications intermediaries that re-lend funds for rural economic development and job creation projects as a Revolving Loan Fund. Funding for the KYDPI project was made available through Jackson Energy Cooperative in McKee, Ky.
Today’s announcement is part of USDA’s efforts to strengthen rural economies and included an announcement by Senior Obama Administration officials and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear for the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will lead the POWER initiative, which is a coordinated effort among multiple federal agencies, including USDA, using already appropriated funds to make a down payment on the POWER+ Plan, a suite of proposals in the President’s FY 2016 Budget that invest in coal communities, workers and technology. The goal of the POWER initiative is to effectively align, leverage and target a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector.