USDA Announces Loan and Grant Dollars Available to Spur Economic Growth in Rural Communities

Name
Vicki Schurman
City
Lincoln
State
Nebraska
Release Date
May 02, 2014

USDA Rural Development announces $30.6 million in zero-interest loans and $9.2 million in grants to establish revolving loan funds that finance business and economic development activities in rural areas.  Applications for these funds will be accepted through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.

 “One of USDA Rural Development’s missions is to provide assistance that will increase the economic conditions of rural communities,” said State Director Maxine Moul.  “The REDLG program will assist with business startup and expansion, business technical assistance and job training, and community facilities projects that support economic development.”

Recent Nebraska recipients of REDLG funding include the Nebraska Central Telephone Company (NCTC) of Gibbon, NE, which was awarded a loan of $798,000. NCTC will then loan the funds to Popcorn County USA in North Loup, NE. Funds will be used for construction costs to replace the existing popcorn processing facility and for equipment upgrades. As a result of the funding this rural business is now assured that health and safety codes can be met at its facility, ensuring 11 rural jobs are retained.

The Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association (PREMA) of Alliance was also awarded a loan of $1,000,000 for the Chadron State College Rangeland Agricultural Center and Pavilion for phase one construction of the Center. Two jobs will be created as a result.

Grant funding of $300,000 was awarded to the City of Tecumseh Board of Public Works (a newly approved intermediary of the REDLG program) to assist the Johnson County Hospital in upgrading its generator and modernizing its electronic records management and pharmacy medication management systems. The hospital’s repayment of this loan to the City of Tecumseh Board of Public Works will create a revolving loan fund to foster additional economic development in the area.

Loans of up to $2,000,000 are made to eligible entities for a maximum term of 10 years at zero percent interest. Grants of up to $300,000 are requested by intermediaries and are re-loaned at zero percent to assist with business startup and expansion, business technical assistance and job training, and community facilities projects that support economic development. Upon repayment of the initial loans made from grant funds, a revolving loan fund is established for future lending activity by the intermediary.

Rural utilities that are eligible for USDA financing under the Rural Electrification Act and have the capacity to serve as intermediary lenders may apply to USDA Rural Development to administer the funds locally for the benefit of specifically identified projects.  These intermediaries re-loan REDLG funds at zero percent.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis through USDA Rural Development Offices and are evaluated for funding consideration monthly.  Please contact your local Rural Development Specialist for further information on the REDLG program: Bill Sheppard (Eastern Nebraska) 402-371-5350 Ext 1004 or bill.sheppard@ne.usda.gov , Kelley Messenger (Central Nebraska) 308-237-3118 Ext 1120 or kelley.messenger@ne.usda.gov  , Marla Marx (Western Nebraska) 308-632-2195 Ext 1132 or marla.marx@ne.usda.gov, Deb Yocum (State Office Lincoln) 402-437-5554 or debra.yocum@ne.usda.gov.

For additional information visit:  http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NEBusinessPrograms_Rural_Economic_Dev_Loan_and_Grant.htm

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, business and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.  President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for business, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.