USDA awards grants, loans to support rural businesses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it recently awarded 92 projects more than $18.1 million that will help support the start-up or expansion of rural small businesses through loans and grants via its Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), the Intermediary Relending Program and the Rural Business Development Grant program.

USDA provides grants or zero-interest loans through the REDLG program to utilities that in turn fund projects to create and retain employment in rural areas. The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan and grant agreements.

The funds are part of more than 20,000 grants and loans to more than 85,000 rural businesses the USDA's Rural Business-Cooperative Service has awarded since the start of the Obama administration.

"I am proud of the work USDA has done to help small businesses grow in rural America because they are the engine that creates jobs," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "These funds will allow small and emerging businesses and the organizations that support them to get the financing they need to strengthen their operations, create jobs and expand economic opportunities."

One of the organizations receiving funds under the REDLG program is the South Mississippi Electric Power Association, which has been selected for a $2 million loan. It will lend part of that to the city of Greenwood, which will buy and renovate a building for the Milwaukee Tool company. The project is expected to create more than 100 jobs in Lenore County.

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United States Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave SW Washington, DC 20250

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