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USDA Invests $57.9 Million to Support Local Businesses, Create Good-Paying Jobs and Strengthen the Economy in Rural Ohio

Heather Stacy
Release Date
Feb 02, 2022

Investments support the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build back better in rural America

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 2, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $57.9 million to help a diverse rural Ohio keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance.

“For some time, rural America has been at the mercy of an extraction economy, where resources are taken from rural lands only to create jobs and economic opportunity in urban and suburban areas,” Vilsack said. “That’s why USDA is committed to doing what we can to change that extraction economy into a circular economy, where value is added closer to home, so the wealth created in rural areas stays in rural areas. Today’s announcement underlines the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to helping transform the economy and bring high-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the people who need it most.”

The funding announced today will help people and businesses in diverse communities throughout Ohio. It will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. And it will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers create jobs, grow businesses and find new and better markets for the items they produce.

For example:

  • In Athens County, Ohio, Mushroom Harvest Provisions will use a $63,250 Value-Added Producer Grant for marketing and distribution of pickled shiitake mushrooms. Mushroom Harvest Provisions grows, processes, pickles and jars shiitake mushrooms. This project will allow for 4,680 jars of shiitake mushrooms to be sold providing revenues of $56,160 and saving four jobs.
  • In Ohio and West Virginia, the Ohio State University will use a $199,144 Rural Cooperative Development Grant to develop and support cooperative businesses throughout 32 Ohio counties and 55 counties in West Virginia by providing feasibility, business analysis and technical assistance to build business capacity.
  • Based in Columbus, Ohio, the Economic & Community Development Institute will use a $42,262 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program grant to provide technical assistance for the grantee's revolving loan fund. This agency makes micro loans to small businesses in 26 counties and has been participating in the program since 2011.

Vilsack highlighted investments that USDA is making in 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 in Ohio also include Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance 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.

Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, 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/oh. 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.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov/oh.



USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender