Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the selection of recipients for grants and loans to help spur economic development and create or save jobs in rural communities in seven Midwestern and Southern states.

"This funding will help rural businesses create sustainable, quality jobs," Vilsack said. "These projects demonstrate the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to ensure that rural communities attract the investments they need to support business development.”

Funding will be provided to applicants in Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and Tennessee. USDA Rural Development is providing support through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), which provides zero-interest loans to local utilities that they, in turn, pass through to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas.

For example, Tennessee-based Tri-County Electric Membership Cooperative was selected to receive a $996,000 loan that will be used to help construct a health clinic in Tompkinsville, Ky., in Monroe County, that will be leased to Cumberland Family Medical Center. The project is expected to create approximately 65 jobs. In Nebraska, the City of Lexington was selected to receive a $300,000 grant. The funds will be used to upgrade servers and computer networks for the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system for the Lexington Regional Health Center.

The USDA is investing more than $6.1 million to create economic opportunity. The following is a list of rural utilities that will receive funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

Indiana

  • South Central Indiana REMC -- $1,000,000 loan and a $300,000 grant. Funding will be used for a sewer and wastewater extension to an industrial park in Owen County. Funds will also support efforts by Hoosier Energy to build a facility, and spur the creation of commercial and residential development. The project is expected to create 55 jobs and retain 60.

Iowa

  • Farmers Electric Cooperative, Inc. -- $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to supplement an existing revolving loan fund to benefit Wildwood Hills, Inc, a non-profit educational organization. The organization will used the funding to build a multi-purpose facility including a dining hall, commercial kitchen, bunkhouse and a multi-purpose room. This project will create two jobs and retain 26.
  • Osceola Electric Cooperative, Inc. -- $1,000,000 loan. This project will help Chemsol, LLC purchase a facility and pay for start-up costs of operating a dry blood plasma operation. The project will create 28 jobs.

Minnesota

  • Lake County Power -- $1,000,000 loan. This project will fund the expansion of a boat lift and dock manufacturing business in McGregor and is expected to create 30 jobs and retain 72.

Mississippi

  • Central Electric Power Association -- $1,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to build a retail facility on Choctaw tribal land in Neshoba County. This project is expected to create 15 jobs.

Missouri

  • Ralls County Electric Cooperative -- $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to help Moberly Area community College build a campus facility in Hannibal that offers vocational training to area residents.

Nebraska

  • City of Lexington -- $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to upgrade servers and computer networks for the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system for Lexington Regional Health Center. The project will create one job and save three.

Tennessee/Kentucky

  • Tri-County Electric Membership Cooperative -- $996,000 loan. This project will enable construction of a building in Tompkinsville, Ky., that will be leased to Cumberland Family Medical Center to operate a rural health clinic. The project is expected to create approximately 65 jobs.

For more information about the REDLG program, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_redlg.html.