USDA Rural Development funds are now available

Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015

By KEVIN L. GREEN [email protected]

 

The United States Department of Agriculture has more than $17 million in guaranteed loan and grant money available and Penny York of the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation wants local residents and businesses to know they may be eligible to receive some of it.

“This is a way to help businesses in our area. There are two types of grants available for businesses, for solar lighting and energy efficient lighting. There are other types of funding as well that are strictly for small businesses, not-for-profits are not eligible,” York said. “Any time funding can be secured for business, it is helpful.”

USDA Rural Development recently announced that $17.4 million are available. New or existing rural businesses can use these funds for new construction, acquisitions, expansion, machinery and equipment, working capital, ag-processing facilities, aquaculture, or refinancing.

Curtis Johnson, the USDA’s Area Business Specialist for East-Central Indiana, said USDA Rural Development Business Programs help create jobs and stimulate rural economies by providing financial backing for rural businesses.

“Loans, grants, and loan guarantees are available to any legally-organized entity including cooperatives, partnerships, profit or non-profit entities, Indian tribes or federally-recognized tribal groups, and municipalities,” Johnson said. Additionally, a wide range of technical assistance is provided to cooperatives and people interested in forming new cooperatives.

Funds are available to complete energy audits and feasibility studies, complete energy efficiency improvements, and install renewable energy systems. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance in the form of grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements.

“RD has programs that help convert older heating sources to cleaner technologies, produce advanced biofuels, install flexible fuel pumps, install solar panels, build bio-refineries, and more,” Johnson said. “USDA Rural Development is at the forefront of renewable energy financing, with options including grants, guaranteed loans and payments.”