USDA Awards Loans and Grants to Support Rural Economic Development

Nikki Gillespie
Release Date
Apr 09, 2015

USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced the award of $1.3 million in loans and grants for two Minnesota organizations to promote rural economic development.

“These investments help rural residents start or expand businesses and purchase updated equipment,” Landkamer said. “The funds can be used for a wide range of needs. They can help businesses increase production and manufacturing capacity and can even help rural homeowners save money by making their homes more energy efficient.”

Funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Landkamer’s announcement corresponds with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s recent announcement of over $31 million in loans and grants for 38 projects in 12 states.

Through the REDLG program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. These revolving loan funds broaden the program’s reach and create a multiplier effect for its impact. Eligible applicants are USDA Rural Utilities Service borrowers. Innovative USDA investments through this program are boosting economic development in rural communities all across the country, Vilsack noted.

South Central Electric Association, servicing multiple counties in southern Minnesota, has been selected to receive a $300,000 grant to help the Lewisville Area Volunteer Fire Fighting Company, the Ormsby Volunteer Fire Department, and the Jeffers Area Fire Department purchase new vehicles, fire and EMS equipment. This project is expected to benefit over 750 local residents.

Minnesota’s Agralite Electric Cooperative has been approved for a $1 million loan to help with the expansion of Alliance Midstream, LLC Benson Propane Terminal through the purchase and installation of equipment related to a propane rail offloading facility. In addition to the multitude of jobs maintained, this project is expected to create three new job opportunities.

 The awards announced today are contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement. View the complete nationwide list of awards.

 USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $16.5 million for more than 30 rural small business start-ups and expansions in rural communities throughout Minnesota since 2009.

 Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, the REDLG program has helped create or save more than 32,000 rural jobs, provided almost $338 million in economic development assistance, improved manufacturing capability, expanded health care and educational facilities and helped grow or establish almost 1,200 rural businesses and community projects.

 USDA Rural Development also invests in housing, community facilities, telecommunications, water and wastewater facilities, and broadband that help empower rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.

 For more information on the REDLG or any other USDA Rural Development program, please contact your local Area Specialist or visit