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USDA Invests $11 Million to Support Local Businesses, Create Good-Paying Jobs and Strengthen the Economy in Rural Wisconsin

Nikki Gillespie
Release Date

Resource Guide Unveiled in Recognition of National Entrepreneurship Week  

STEVENS POINT, Wisc., Feb. 16, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Wisconsin Julie Lassa today announced the Department is investing $11 million to help rural Wisconsin through job creation, business expansion and technical assistance.  

“Wisconsin’s ag producers and rural small businesses and entrepreneurs are critical to the success of our state’s economy,” Lassa said. “The investments announced today will help to sustain the current workforce and more importantly, create room for growth and expansion. USDA also wants to ensure that we are doing our part to help bring these opportunities to even more rural areas and recently unveiled a resource guide to better navigate not only our programs and resources, but those of our partners as well. We encourage businesses and communities to check out this resource and partner with us to build back better and stronger.” [recording actuality 6.07MB / 33 seconds / .wav]

Lassa highlighted 5 investments that will help rural businesses hire more workers and reach new customers. They will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. The investments will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers create or save jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.

For example: 

  • Cylon Rolling Acres, LLC of St. Croix County will use a $78,877 Value-Added Producer Grant to increase processing, marketing and delivery of goat meat. This investment will help to increase the customer base by 551 people.
  • In Barron County, Tri-State Lumber & Land, Inc. will use a $250,000 Value-Added Producer Grant to market and process pine timber into pine products and flooring. This investment will help to increase the customer base by 200 people.  
  • Holland’s Family Cheese, LLC in Clark County will use a $250,000 Value-Added Producer Grant to market and process milk into gouda cheese spread and snack packs. This investment will help to increase the customer base by 15 and increase revenue by $713,312.
  • Two rural businesses located in Polk County received $10.4 million in loan guarantees to help create over 30 jobs and save nearly 60 jobs through the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program.

Today’s investments are part of a larger statewide announcement of 19 investments totaling $37.4 million recently made by Lassa, and a nationwide announcement made by U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack who highlighted 751 investments totaling $1.4 billion. USDA is funding these investments through eight programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees, which provided record-breaking investments in fiscal year 2021, and the B&I CARES Act Program, which has helped create thousands of jobs with funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Programs also include Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grants, Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, Intermediary Relending Program and Value-Added Producer Grants.

These programs are part of a suite of business and cooperative services that are projected to help create or save more than 50,000 jobs in rural America through investments made in fiscal year 2021.

In recognition of National Entrepreneurship Week this week, USDA unveiled a resource guide that features information on how rural entrepreneurs can use USDA and other Federal programs to access financing and other assistance to help start and expand their businesses. It includes tools to help them:

  • expand their access to capital to create small business incubators.
  • create value-added agricultural products.
  • access high-speed internet to connect their businesses to national and global markets.
  • cut energy costs.
  • access health care resources to enhance the quality of life for their employees.
  • access workforce development and training opportunities to improve their skills, products and services, and more.

Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wi. USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that will support key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help rural America build back better and stronger. Key priorities include combating the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.