USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Lillian Salerno today began a three-state tour to highlight USDA investments that are helping expand rural business opportunities in the bio-economy.
"Supporting the people who live in rural areas, by creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity for rural small businesses, is a top priority for the Obama Administration," Salerno said. "There is enormous potential for economic growth in rural America through the emerging bio-based industry — today there are more than 3,000 bio-based companies in operation. And we'll be able to make even more investments in the bio-economy thanks to the new Farm Bill, which provided renewed support for USDA renewable energy programs.”
During the tour of bio-based projects and companies in Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, Salerno will also highlight ways USDA Rural Development can help boost job creation in rural America. In April, Salerno visited other bio-based facilities supported by USDA investments during a similar tour of projects in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Rural Development investments, including those to support the bio-economy, helped create 75,000 jobs across the nation in 2013.
Salerno's tour begins today with an open house ceremony at the Three Rivers Energy ethanol plant in rural Coshocton, Ohio. Earlier this year, USDA Rural Development provided a $9 million Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) loan guarantee for plant renovations, improvements and working capital. Today, the facility is producing ethanol at full capacity. The project provided 30 jobs for workers at the plant and a steady market for corn and other related byproducts produced by farmers in the region.
On July 15, Salerno will visit the Wooster Water Pollution Control Plant in Wooster, Ohio. USDA helped finance an anaerobic digester at the Wooster treatment plant. The plant supplies waste to the digester, which annually generates more than 5.7 million kWh of electricity and 25,000 MMBtu of thermal heat for area residents and businesses.
On July 16, Salerno will speak at the Illinois Renewable Energy Conference in Normal, Illinois, about USDA’s success with renewable energy projects, and ongoing efforts to carry out President Obama's "All of the Above" energy strategy to increase domestic renewable energy production and reduce dependence on foreign sources of oil. On July 17, she will tour the Stronger Economies Together program at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana. Through Stronger Economies Together, or SET, USDA Rural Development is partnering with development organizations and universities at the local level to strengthen the capacity of rural communities and counties to implement regional strategic economic development plans.
For more information about USDA Rural Development programs, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.