Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of $31 million in loans and grants for organizations in 12 states to promote rural economic development.
In Kansas, Midwest Energy, Inc. and the Western Cooperative Electric Association, Inc. received $908,000 Rural Economic Development Loans to provide BJKLM Development Co., LLC with financing for construction of a John Deere dealership located in Hoxie.
"These infrastructure investments will help rural residents start or expand businesses," Vilsack 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."
The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Vilsack announced $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.
Since 2008, 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 expand or establish almost 1,200 rural businesses and community projects.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $206.2 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.