Burst of new USDA loans & grants to held rural businesses grow

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Hillsboro, MO, June 3 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of recipients in 10 states to receive funding to promote economic development and job creation through increased business lending. Vilsack made the announcement Thursday during the National Summit of Rural America, which gathered agricultural leaders, farmers, ranchers, community leaders, and residents of rural communities to share ideas about revitalizing rural America.

“Ensuring that rural small businesses have access to capital is one of the most effective ways to help them create jobs,” Vilsack said. “Putting Americans to work is a top priority of the Obama administration and these loans and grants will finance the training efforts that small and emerging businesses need to maintain their operations. These funds will also establish revolving loan pools that will be a resource for businesses in the future.”

 National Rural Summit

 Speakers' panel at the National Summit of Rural America Thursday. Photo: Agri-Pulse.

The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Intermediary Relending Program and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. The total amount of loan and grant funding announced today is $6.7 million.

The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program provides zero-interest loans to utility cooperatives which are passed through to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. The Intermediary Relending Program provides funds to organizations to establish revolving loan pools that are used to finance business and economic development activity to create or retain jobs in rural communities.

For example, the Ark Valley Electric Cooperative Association in Hutchinson, KS, will use a $192,000 Rural Economic Development loan to complete the remodeling of a building that will used to expand a business in the community of Sterling. When the remodeled building is completed, it will have space for an additional office or retail tenant.

The Logan County Economic Development Council, in Guthrie, OK, has been selected to receive a $750,000 Intermediary Relending Program loan to support diversified industrial and commercial development in the region. The loan is expected to help the council retain small businesses in the area and expand its 21-county service region.

In the fall of 2009, a $1 million USDA Rural Economic Development loan and grant combination awarded to South Dakota’s Heartland Consumer Power District helped finance the expansion of the Lakeview Industrial Park in Madison. The Lake Area Improvement Corporation, which received the loan from Heartland, extended the main road to the west side of the property and added an additional access point from a main thoroughfare. Heartland issued the expansion loan at zero percent interest for 10 years, saving the Lake Area Improvement Corporation nearly $300,000 in interest payments.

Recipients selected for Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants:


  • Ark Valley Electric Cooperative Association, Inc.; $192,000 loan
  • South Central Telephone Association, Inc.; $740,000 loan


  • Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative, Inc.; $144,000 loan

South Carolina

  • Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Inc.; $740,000 loan


  • Okanogan County Electric Coop, Inc.; $200,000 grant


  • Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative; $500,000 loan

Recipients selected for Intermediary Relending Program loans:


  • Region 9 Economic Development District; $250,000 loan


  • Montana Community Development Corporation; $750,000 loan

New York

  • County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency; $750,000 loan

North Carolina:

  • Dunn Area Committee of 100; $458,240 loan
  • East Carolina Community Development, Inc.; $458,240 loan


  • Logan County Economic Development Council; $750,000 loan

South Carolina

  • Town of Cheraw; $300,000 loan


  • Southeast Rural Community Assistance Program, Inc.; $500,000 loan

Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the loan or grant agreement.

The Rural Summit serves as a capstone for the Rural Tour that Secretary Vilsack led last year, during which he visited 22 states – often joined by other Cabinet Secretaries – to open dialogue between the Obama administration, farmers, ranchers and people who live in rural communities.

For two other articles on new USDA loan announcements Thursday, go to:
www.agri-pulse.com/20100603H2_USDA_Micro_Loans.asp and

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