May 22 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that loans and grant funds will be provided to applicants in 11 states to support businesses, improve the quality of medical care and create or save hundreds of jobs. Funding is provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. The United States Department of Agriculture remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. The announcement is one part of the department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
"Investing in rural America is essential to continuing the economic revitalization we are seeing today," said Vilsack. "The funding announced today will help support the Obama Administration's vision by providing our rural communities with resources to support small businesses, improve public facilities, and create new, sustainable jobs."
For example, USDA will provide a grant and loan to East Mississippi Electric Power Association in Clarke County, Miss. The Clarke County Board of Supervisors will construct and equip a 10,860 sq. ft. workforce education building that will be operated by Jones Junior College in Stonewall.
Western Illinois Electrical Cooperative will use economic development funds to assist in the construction of a medical clinic for Memorial Hospital in Carthage. The hospital's long-term plan is to create a state-of-the-art medical campus. The clinic will create 25 jobs and save 20 existing positions.
Funding of each recipient is contingent on the recipient meeting the conditions for the grant or loan. The following is a complete list of recipients.
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. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.