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USDA Invests $27.1 Million to Support Local Businesses, Create Good-Paying Jobs and Strengthen the Economy in Rural Minnesota

Nikki Gillespie
Release Date
Feb 03, 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 2, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Acting State Director for Minnesota Cynthia Morales today announced the Department is investing $27 million to help rural America keep resources and wealth at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance.  

“USDA’s business programs are meant to assist rural ag producers, small businesses and entrepreneurs with start-up and expansion to help create jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities,” Morales said. “Today’s investments will help support economic expansion of rural America by not only adding value but also keeping it local, like high-paying jobs, so that wealth created in rural areas stays in rural areas.”

Morales highlighted 19 investments that will help companies 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. And they will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers in nearly every state create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.

For example: 

  • Northern Pride, Inc. will use a $250,000 Value-Added Producer Grant to increase processing, marketing and delivery of locally raised turkey products to area consumers.
  • Mille Lacs Energy Coop will use a $300,000 grant from the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program construct a fire hall / public safety building in McGregor, Minn. The current facility is not adequate to store the required emergency equipment on site nor provide necessary exhaust extraction. The new facility will address capacity issues for years to come.
  • The Food Coop Initiative will use a $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant to provide technical assistance to rural food cooperatives in central Minnesota.

Today’s investments are part of a larger 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.

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/mn. 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.