United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the department is investing $1.4 billion to help a diverse rural America keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance. The programs these investments are being made through are part of a suite of business and cooperative services that are projected to help create or save more than 50,000 jobs in rural America through investments made in fiscal year 2021.
In Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s district, BKP Hospitality, LLC (Ukiah, California) received $1.97 million Business and Industry Loan Guarantee, the Great Northern Corporation received a $606 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistant Program grant, the Sac Valley Rice Company (Willows, California), Mooney Farms, Inc. (Chico, California), the California Wild Rice Growers Association (Fall River Mills, California), Bertagna Orchards, Inc. (Chico, California), Sohnrey Family Foods, LLC (Oroville, California) and Farmers Brewing Company, LLC (Princeton, California), each received $250,000 Added Value Producer Grants.
“For some time, rural America has been at the mercy of an extraction economy, where resources are taken from rural lands only to create jobs and economic opportunity in urban and suburban areas,” Vilsack said. “That’s why USDA is committed to doing what we can to change that extraction economy into a circular economy, where value is added closer to home, so the wealth created in rural areas stays in rural areas. Today’s announcement underlines the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to helping transform the economy and bring high-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the people who need it most.”
The funding announced today will help people and businesses in diverse communities and industries throughout 49 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 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. And it will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers in nearly every state create jobs, grow businesses and find new and better markets for the items they produce.
Vilsack highlighted 751 investments that USDA is making in eight programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees, which provided record-breaking investments in fiscal year 2021, and the B&I CARES Act Program, which has helped create thousands of jobs with funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Programs also include Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grants, Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, Intermediary Relending Program and Value-Added Producer Grants.