USDA awards $2.5 Million to create jobs in rural South Dakota

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Farm Forum

Huron, SD – On May 9, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $39.3 million in loans and grants for 68 projects that will help small, rural businesses and communities in 26 states. The announcement comes as the Obama Administration celebrates the profound economic impact of American entrepreneurs during National Small Business Week. Four projects in South Dakota are receiving a total of $2.5 million in funding including medical equipment for the Milbank Area Hospital; purchase of a fire truck for the Town & Country Fire Department in Woonsocket; new IT equipment for the Huron Regional Medical Center; and a loan to West River Foundation for working capital, equipment, land and building for projects.

“More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and these businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year,” Vilsack said. “Supporting small businesses and rural communities is vital to our economic health. This funding enables communities to provide important support services and access to capital for rural, small businesses.”

The funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program, the Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) program.

Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Sam Rikkers made the announcement on Vilsack’s behalf during a visit to the Central Iowa Power Cooperative in Des Moines. Rikkers was in the state to meet with cooperative officials, business leaders and the public to highlight the important economic role cooperatives play in rural communities.

South Dakota REDLG recipients include:

• Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Milbank will receive a $700,000 Rural Economic Development loan and a $300,000 Rural Economic Development grant to buy medical equipment for the Milbank Area Hospital in Milbank.

• Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Mitchell will receive a $212,000 Rural Economic Development grant to help the Town & Country Fire Department of Woonsocket purchase a fire truck.

• Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. in Huron will receive a $300,000 Rural Economic Development grant to help the Huron Regional Medical Center purchase IT equipment.

Six economic development groups have been selected to receive $3.1 million through the IRP program to capitalize low-interest loan funds for business projects in rural communities.

A South Dakota IRP recipient includes:

• West River Foundation in Sturgis will receive a $1,000,000 IRP loan to provide low-interest loans for working capital, equipment, land and building for projects in a 14-county area in western South Dakota.

The RMAP program will provide seven microenterprises with $3.8 million through revolving loan funds and technical assistance grants.

Funding of each award announced is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.