The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department is investing $770 million to help create new and better market opportunities 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 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.