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USDA Rural Development Delivers $20 Million Through Business Programs to Rural Nebraska

Vicki Schurman
Release Date
Dec 30, 2013
USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul announces that more than $20 million was delivered to rural Nebraska in federal fiscal year 2013 through its various business programs. The programs assisted 153 businesses, 75 ag producers, and four cooperatives. Jobs created and/or saved totaled 258. The total Business and Cooperative Programs portfolio reflects $119 million in funding since 1996 with no delinquencies at the end of the fiscal year. There is funding available for Fiscal Year 2014 and applications are being accepted. “Rural Development believes in a strong economy and our business programs help to accomplish this in rural Nebraska,” said Moul. “We look forward to Fiscal Year 2014 and continuing to meet the needs of rural businesses and producers.” The Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan program made available nearly $11.9 million that, through leveraging, assisted 11 businesses. The B&I Guaranteed Loan Program funds business and industrial development to create and maintain employment, and to expand and improve the economic climate. Laurel Biocomposite, LLC was formed to become the first company in the US to produce new products for use in the plastics industry by building a plant that would convert Distillers Grain, a by-product of the ethanol process, into a product that would replace and/or enhance traditional petroleum based resins in various plastics manufacturing processes. Laurel Biocomposite, LLC completed a private equity drive in July 2012 and raised nearly $6.9 million toward the $11.855 million needed to purchase equipment and provide start-up working capital to begin plant operations. With the partnership of Security Bank in Laurel, NE, USDA Rural Development provided a $5 million guaranteed loan through its Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee program to Laurel Biocomposite, LLC to purchase equipment required for production and provide working capital during the first year of operation. As a result of the B&I guaranteed loan with Security Bank in Laurel, NE, Laurel Biocomposite, LLC currently has one production line operating and is anticipated to begin full scale production in 2014 of its Bio-ResTM pellet and powder products which will bring their annual capacity up to 48 million pounds of finished pelleted product. Nine jobs have been created and three have been retained as a result of this innovative start-up business. The Business Programs Specialty Lending Division consists of five programs. The Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program provided five grants totaling $269,000, including one Native American Earmark grant. Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) in Lincoln, Nebraska received a $30,000 RBEG leveraged with $30,150 to provide technical assistance and loan packaging services to small and emerging businesses in SENDD’s 15 county service area. Approximately thirteen (13) businesses will be assisted resulting in the anticipated creation or retention of seventeen (17) jobs. The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) provided three grant renewals totaling $80,869. Since 2010, three recipients have received loans totaling $1.2 million. To date, 36 ultimate recipient loans have been made for nearly $974,000. The RMAP program dollars were leveraged with more than $1.4 million, 115 jobs have been created or saved. Through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program one loan totaling $798,000 and four grants for $1.2 million were awarded. City of Gothenburg received a $300,000 grant, to create a loan fund to help Gothenburg Memorial Hospital upgrade servers and computer networks for its electronic medical records system. The project will create three jobs and save four existing positions. Cooperative Programs consists of the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program and the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program. The VAPG program provided funding totaling nearly $367,000 to three producers. Burbach Countryside Dairy, Inc. of Hartington, Nebraska received a $300,000 VAPG to seek support for the marketing of locally produced fluid dairy products from farm raised milk. The funding will be a dollar for dollar match. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Nebraska Cooperative Development Center (NCDC) plans to use a $200,000 USDA Rural Cooperative Development grant to provide technical assistance to groups developing cooperatively owned businesses. The Center will offer technical assistance to businesses that are developing or are considering the development of a cooperatively-owned business. Services offered include needs assessments, planning assistance for starting a cooperative, identification of resources available, feasibility studies, business plans, market analysis and board of director training. One of the areas of focus will be local and regional food systems through NCDC’s continuing support of Buy Fresh, Buy Local Nebraska. The organization works closely with local producers to promote and market locally grown foods. NCDC provides technical assistance to these locally grown food producers, grocers, and restaurants in promoting and marketing local foods. Nebraska RD processed 126 applications totaling $2,675,667 million for the 9007 Rural Energy for America Program. Nebraska was awarded 102 projects for more than $1.8 million for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The Advanced Biofuel Payment Program issued 15 payments totaling nearly $3.4 million to advanced biofuel producers to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels. Rural Development Business and Cooperative Programs currently have money available for Fiscal Year 2014. Please contact your local Rural Development Business Program Specialist: Marla Marx in Scottsbluff, Nebraska at 308-632-2195 ext. 1132 or marla.marx@ne.usda.gov. Kelley Messenger in Kearney, Nebraska at 308-237-3118 ext. 1120 or Kelley.messenger@ne.usda.gov. Bill Sheppard in Norfolk, Nebraska at 402-371-5350 ext. 1004 or bill.sheppard@ne.usda.gov. You may also contact the Lincoln State Office at 402-437-5551. Visit: www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne. For more information contact the Rural Development office nearest you. You can locate an office by visiting: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/NE-ContactUs.html. Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne for information on all of Rural Development’s programs. For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development’s new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2012. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html. 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.