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First Ponca Financial, Inc. in Nebraska Receives $96,185 --USDA Invests in Small and Emerging Rural Businesses

Vicki Schurman
Release Date
Oct 22, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA is investing $96,185 in Nebraska to support small and emerging rural businesses projects.

First Ponca Financial, Inc. of Grand Island, Nebraska will utilize the USDA dollars to implement an Economic Gardening program that provides training and customized technical assistance for up to 10 start-up and existing Native owned businesses located in rural communities within First Ponca Financial's 15 county service area.  Up to 15 jobs are expected to be created and/or saved as a direct result of this project.

The service area of the grant will be 12 Nebraska counties (Boyd, Burt, rural Douglas, Hall, Holt, Knox, rural Lancaster, Madison, Platte, rural Sarpy, Stanton, and Wayne), two Iowa counties (rural Pottawattamie and rural Woodbury) and one South Dakota county (Charles Mix).  The identified counties are home to a higher number of Ponca Tribal members.  The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is not a land based tribe and does not have a reservation.

"USDA is working to expand economic opportunities and bring well-paying jobs to rural communities," Vilsack said. "Strategic investments in rural businesses will help grow local economies and revitalize small towns and communities."

The investments are through USDA's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, to promote the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. RBEGs may also be used to help fund distance learning networks and employment-related adult education programs. Eligible applicants include local public entities, private non-profit corporations and federally recognized Indian Tribes.

Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, the RBEG program has helped create or save more than 90,000 rural jobs, provided more than $54 million in economic development assistance, improved manufacturing capability, expanded health care and educational facilities, and has either expanded or helped establish more than 3,200 economic development projects.

Funding for the recipients announced today is contingent upon their meeting the terms of the grant agreement. The RBEG program has a strong track record of success.

For more information contact the Rural Development office nearest you.  You can locate an office by visiting: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NE-Contact.html.   Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne for information on all of Rural Development’s programs.

For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2013. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.         

President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his 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.