Friday, April 12, 2013
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USDA seeks applications to promote job creation and boost the rural economy

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[April 12, 2013]  CHAMPAIGN -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday that applications are being accepted from qualified nonprofit and public organizations as intermediaries to provide loans to support rural businesses and community development groups. Funding, which is intended to spark business expansion and create jobs, will be made available through USDA's Intermediary Relending Program, or IRP.

The United States Department of Agriculture remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. This announcement is one part of the department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

"This program is a part of the Obama administration's ongoing effort to leverage private investments with public funds to create jobs and expand economic opportunity for rural entrepreneurs," Vilsack said. "Intermediaries serve as a critical component to boosting local economies."

The Intermediary Relending Program is USDA Rural Development's primary program for capitalizing revolving loan funds. USDA lends money to economic development intermediaries -- nonprofits and public bodies -- which in turn re-lend the funds as commercial loans to rural businesses, the ultimate recipients, that might not otherwise be able to obtain such financing. The repayment of the ultimate recipients' loans allows the intermediary to continue to make more loans to new recipients, supporting sustainable economic development. The program has created or saved an estimated 20,000 jobs since 2009.

For example, the South Central Illinois Regional Planning & Development Commission has participated in the Intermediary Relending Program since 1992. The commission has made 74 loans totaling $8,439,800 since beginning participation in the program. This has resulted in the creation of 1,279 new jobs and retention of 276 existing jobs within the five-county region. The development commission serves the Illinois counties of Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper and Marion.

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For more information about the Intermediary Relending Program, and to learn about application requirements and deadlines, contact the state office of Illinois Rural Development at 217-403-6200.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $181 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers, and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration -- the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

[Text from file received from USDA Rural Development, Illinois]

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