Josie Taylor | February 3, 2022
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack, announced Wednesday that the USDA is investing $1.4 billion into rural economies. They are doing this through job training, business loans and the expansion of technical assistance.
Eight programs will give out 751 awards across 49 states. Vilsack believes these programs will help create wealth in rural communities.
“The rural economy, which plays an important role in our national economy, has historically lagged behind the urban and suburban counterparts,” he said, “That’s why it’s important for us to focus on building back that rural economy better.”
The grants and loans will assist with many needs such as housing, the expansion of small businesses and family farms, and providing capital for new small businesses owners.
One of the programs, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, allocated $8.4 million in grant awards and $1.7 million in loans. In Iowa, the Pella Cooperative Electric Association received a $300,000 grant from that program to replenish the association’s revolving loan fund. That money will help fund the construction of a women’s housing and health care facility.
Several universities also received those grants, such as The Ohio State University, which received nearly $200,000, and the governing body at the University of Nebraska, which was awarded $200,000.