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Vilsack Announces Economic Development Funding To Create Jobs In Rural Communities In 11 States


WASHINGTON, June 29, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 21 utilities in 11 states for loans and grants to help rural businesses expand and create jobs.

“These loans and grants help cooperatives and utilities support local projects that create jobs and improve rural economic conditions,” Vilsack said. “USDA is proud to be a partner in the effort to bolster these cooperatives and help them win the future by increasing the value and appeal of the products and services they deliver.”

The loans and grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. Recipients are rural utilities program borrowers that pass the funds to local organizations for projects to retain and create jobs, upgrade public infrastructure, improve service delivery and improve the quality of life for area residents and visitors.

For example, the Federated Rural Electric Association in Jackson, Minn., has been selected for a $740,000 loan to expand the Arco Corporation facility and construct a visitor center. The additional space will allow the company to increase manufacturing production of high horse- power tractors and related equipment. The new facility is expected to create 100 jobs.

The Utilities District of Western Indiana, Rural Electric Membership Cooperative (REMC), was selected to receive a $740,000 Rural Development loan and $300,000 grant to fund a new elevated water storage tank and supply lines. The project will enhance the water capacity of the Westgate Tech Park and the towns of Scotland and Crane, Ind., while creating an estimated 385 jobs.

Vilsack announced more than $12.3 million in economic development loans and grants today. A complete list of projects that were selected for funding is below. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.


* San Isabel Electric Association: $720,000 loan to purchase and install a zip line for Cuchara Mountain Resort


* Utilities District of Western Indiana, REMC: $740,000 loan and $300,000 grant to fund a new elevated water storage tank and supply lines in the Westgate Tech Park and in the towns of Scotland and Crane.


* Board of Waterworks and Electric Power Plant Trustees: $300,000 grant to construct a 25,000-square-foot-industrial building for local or new manufacturing businesses.

* Butler County Rural Electric Cooperative: $300,000 grant to construct a 30,000-square-foot building to entice new business to Chickasaw County.

* Central Iowa Power Cooperative: $300,000 grant to construct a community-owned aquatic center and purchase a building to become city hall.

* Indianola Municipal Utilities: $300,000 grant to construct an 18,000-square-foot addition to the Blank Performing Arts Center at Simpson College.

* Manning Municipal Light Plant: $250,000 grant to purchase Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park campus for an attraction, education and conference center.

* Winnebago Cooperative Telecomm Association: $600,000 loan to purchase 27.6 miles of rail and to reconstruct a rail switch to ensure rail service in north central Iowa.


* Midwest Energy, Inc .: $740,000 loan to construct a dairy processing facility

* Rolling Hills Electric Cooperative, Inc .: $740,000 loan to construct and equip a new facility for Carrico Implement Company, Inc., in Ellsworth.


* Fleming-Mason Energy Cooperative, Inc .: $740,000 loan to construct an assisted living facility and inpatient care facility in Maysville.

* Jackson Energy Cooperative Corporation: $740,000 loan to purchase telecommunications equipment and software for a contact center.


* Federated Rural Electric Association: $740,000 loan to expand the Arco Corporation facility in Jackson.

* Garden Valley Telephone Company: $115,000 loan to build an addition to the fire hall in Grygla.

* Lake Region Electric Cooperative: $320,228 loan and $300,000 grant to purchase medical equipment and furnishings for a new medical clinic in Pelican Rapids.

* Steele Waseca Cooperative Electric: $740,000 loan to construct a manufacturing plant.


* Coast Electric Power Association: $740,000 loan to expand a micro-brewery building and purchase machinery and equipment for the facility in Kiln.


* Triangle Telephone Cooperative Association, Inc .: $551,000 loan to construct a treatment room addition to the Pioneer Medical Center in Big Timber.


* Umatilla Electric Cooperative, Inc .: $300,000 grant to purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment for the Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston.

South Carolina

* Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc .: $740,000 loan to finance residential energy efficiency improvements through on-bill financing.

South Dakota

* Venture Communications Cooperative: $740,000 loan and $300,000 grant to finance business loans through Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation.

In June, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the first WHRC chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. To better coordinate Federal programs and maximize the impact of Federal investment, the White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities.

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America’s rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining, and thriving economically.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Visit for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.


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