25 May 2022, Washington: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Department is investing $770 million to help create new and better market opportunities (PDF, 366 KB) for rural businesses and people in 36 states and Puerto Rico. The investments include $640 million for 122 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities.
“The economic success of rural America has long been the bedrock of our Nation’s economy as a whole,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is prioritizing investment in jobs, businesses, and entrepreneurial opportunities in rural America. The investments we’re announcing today demonstrate how USDA remains committed to helping people in rural America create new and better market opportunities for our country.”
The funding will help a diverse rural America keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance. It will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. It will also help entrepreneurs and business cooperatives create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.
- In New York, 88 Ridge Royale LLC will use a $3.5 million loan to update the historic Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls. Funds will be utilized to build a 5,800-square-foot ballroom to accommodate 400 guests, with a dedicated banquet kitchen. This investment will create 25 new jobs and support 80 existing jobs in Glens Falls.
- In Nebraska, the city of Cozad will use a $300,000 Rural Economic Development grant to update a pharmacy. Upgrades will expand the pharmacy department, add security measures, and install new ventilation hoods. These improvements will enhance rural health care for approximately 4,000 people in the Cozad area.
- In South Carolina, Clemson University will use a $99,992 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program grant to help the South Carolina Center for Cooperative and Enterprise Development provide technical assistance to microentrepreneurs. The funding is expected to help at least 50 rural businesses access financing and receive financial management guidance.
USDA is making 154 investments through three programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Programs, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.
The awards are being made in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.