Planting season on a farm in America. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that the agency is investing $1.4 billion into rural economies through job training, business loans and the expansion of technical assistance.
“It’s a good day for rural America,” Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, said during a call with reporters.
Eight programs will distribute 751 awards across 49 states. Vilsack added that these programs will help create wealth in rural communities.
“The rural economy, which plays an important role in our national economy, has historically lagged behind the urban and suburban counterparts,” he said. That’s why it’s important for us to focus on building back that rural economy better.”
Those eight programs are the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees, the B&I CARES Act Program, the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grants, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, the Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, the Intermediary Relending Program and the Value-Added Producer Grants.
Some of the grants and loans will assist with needs ranging from housing to expansion of small businesses and family farms to providing capital for new small businesses owners.In Nebraska, KA Elkhorn Real Estate LLC in Elkhorn received a $5,297,000 Business & Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee, the largest amount awarded to any business in the state. The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program gave out $270,812 in Nebraska, dividing the money between several economic development groups, including $8,701 to the Native 360 Loan Fund and $136,998 to the Nebraska Enterprise Fund.
One of the programs, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, allocated $8.4 million in grant awards and $1.7 million in loans. In Iowa, the Pella Cooperative Electric Association received a $300,000 grant from that program to replenish the association’s revolving loan fund, which will help fund the construction of a women’s housing and health care facility.The Value-Added Producer Grant program gave out almost $2 million in grants to smaller producers in Nebraska such as Our Lavender Company, a lavender farm in Big Springs, which received $49,999, and Free Day Popcorn LLC, a family farm and online retailer in Byron, which was awarded $250,000.
The Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program gave out $5.8 million in grants. Some grants were awarded to cooperatives such as the Georgia Cooperative Development Center, which received $70,000 in funding, and the Cooperative Development Foundation in Virginia, which received a $200,000 grant.
The only recipient of those grants in Nebraska was the Board of Regents, the governing body at the University of Nebraska, which was awarded $200,000.
Vilsack added that the agency is also hoping to partner with other entities “to ensure that the workforce needed is being trained and is being prepared to take on that opportunity and responsibility.”
USDA Rural Development Awards announced for Nebraska
The following companies and farms received USDA grants and loan guarantees
Business & Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees – CARES Act
- KA Elkhorn, LLC $500,000
Business & Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees
- KA Elkhorn Real Estate, LLC $5,297,000
- 212 Logistics, LLC $2,000,000
Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG)
- Board of Regents, University Of Nebraska $200,000
Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)
- Native 360 Loan Fund, Inc. $8,701
- Rural Investment Corporation $102,717
- Nebraska Enterprise $136,998
- Northeast Economic Development, Inc. $22,396
Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG)
- Sonpower Industries, LLC $130,000
- Omega 3 Family Farms, LLC $250,000
- Barreras Family Farm, LLC $249,518
- Nathan Carlson $102,071
- Free Day Popcorn, LLC $250,000
- 2B Poultry, LLC $49,998
- Country Lane Gardens, LLC $249,829
- Upstream Angus, LLC $250,000
- McFarland Family Farms dba Mac’s Creek $249,312
- Smilin’ Ranch Company dba The Milk House $49,986
- Our Lavender Company $49,999
- Livingston Enterprises, Inc. $53,000
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