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Nearly $190 Million Invested in Rural Nebraska in 2014-Five Year Total is $1.5 Billion

Vicki Schurman
Release Date

Nebraska’s rural communities received nearly $190 million in USDA Rural Development funding in federal fiscal year 2014, completed on September 30. In five years, USDA has invested nearly $1.5 billion in Nebraska, according to Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul. In the 19 year history of the agency, the funding total is nearly $2.7 billion in Nebraska. The total portfolio of current loans, loans and loan guarantees under management by the Nebraska Rural Development staff is $1.3 billion.

The program funds assist housing, business and community development, water and waste water, energy, distance learning and telemedicine, electric companies and telecommunications. Water and waste water funds are limited to communities of less than 10,000 population. Community facility funding is available to towns of 20,000 population or less. Businesses and industries in communities with up to 50,000 residents can obtain funding through the business programs.

All communities in Nebraska are eligible for housing programs with the exceptions of Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha and South Sioux City/Dakota City.  See http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do for eligible areas to determine if you are within the established income limit based on the size of household and county and if the property is located within an eligible area.

“Essentially, we can work with almost every community in this state, as outlined above,” said Moul.  “The nearly 47 Nebraska employees of USDA Rural Development look forward to serving rural Nebraska in the next year.” Funding is available for fiscal year 2015 and applications are being accepted.

“Nebraska communities, businesses and citizens invested millions of dollars in fiscal year 2014, with the support and resources of USDA Rural Development,” said Moul. “Our Nebraska staff strives each year to utilize the financial resources available through USDA Rural Development to help build stronger rural communities throughout the state.”

Private and community foundations and counties, municipalities and other local governments contributed strongly to the projects funded in the past year. For every dollar invested by USDA Rural Development for direct loans for community facilities, 19 cents was contributed at the local level. Business program guaranteed loan funding was matched by local funding with 90 cents per every federal dollar.

More than $107 million was delivered to Nebraska for housing.
• The Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program and the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program brought homeownership to 1,111 households through nearly $107 million.
• The Rural Home Repair Loan and Grant program provided $136,486 in assistance to 21 Nebraska homeowners for essential repairs.
• More than $7.1 million of rental assistance and vouchers were provided to 1,981 tenants residing in 204 rural rental housing complexes financed through Rural Development that provided more than 3,200 affordable rental units.

More than $51 million was delivered to Nebraska through its Community Programs.
• The Community Facilities Program assisted 11 communities through $51.8 million for health facilities, fire sirens, training and technical assistance, and various buildings and expansions.  This included a Tribal College grant of $145,302 awarded to the
Nebraska Indian Community College for building expansion.

• Through the Water and Environmental Programs, 11 communities and 10,700 rural residents were helped by $8.9 million that provided safe, potable drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal systems.

Nearly $10.9 million was delivered through various business programs. The programs assisted rural businesses, cooperatives, agriculture producers, non-profits, public bodies, and Indian Tribes.
• The Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan program assists lenders by providing guarantees on loans made to rural businesses.  The loans help sustain and finance businesses and improve economic development in rural communities.  Rural businesses support employment opportunities for surrounding communities and provide lasting community benefits. 
• The Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program provided four grants totaling nearly $384,185.
• Through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program, one grant for $283,500 was awarded.
• The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) funded four loans and two grants to non-profits serving rural Nebraska.  Loans totaling $1,150,000 will establish or expand revolving loan funds, grant funds of $137,500 will provide technical assistance. RMAP funds are used to support rural microentrepreneurs.  Since 2010, five recipients have received seven loans totaling $2.35 million and grant funds totaling $593.834. To date, 45 ultimate recipient loans have been made and 133 jobs have been created or saved.  RMAP loan and grant program dollars have been leveraged with more than $2.2 million in local funds.
• The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program provided funding totaling $181,518 for two producers to process and/or market value-added products.
• One Rural Cooperative Development Grant for $200,000 was awarded to assist individuals or entities to start up, expand or improve operations of rural cooperatives.
• One Rural Business Opportunity Grant Native American Earmark for $45,000 was funded.
•One Intermediary Relending Program loan of $175,558 was awarded to provide gap financing through the establishment of a revolving loan fund.
• Through the 9007 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), 18 projects in Nebraska received $193,621 for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
• The Advanced Biofuel Payment Program issued three payments totaling nearly $3.4 million to advanced biofuel producers to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels.

USDA Rural Utilities Service awarded electric funds to Cherry County for an amount of $2,493,700. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program awarded funding totaling $746,778 to three Nebraska Educational Service Unit (ESU) recipients and Good Samaritan Hospital.

Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne/ for additional program information or to locate an USDA Rural Development Office nearest you.

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 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.