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USDA Seeks Applications for Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) is seeking applications from eligible applicants to undertake economic development and job creation projects and activities in rural Alaska, USDA-RD Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund announced today.

“USDA-RD is the leading federal agency that works to foster economic opportunity in rural areas. Money earned and spent at small town 'mom-and-pop' stores or on small-scale manufacturers gets re-invested locally. In Alaska, we provide technical assistance and financing to help rural small businesses save and create jobs, get access to capital and increase economic opportunities,” Nordlund said.

Funding is being provided by the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG). Loans of up to $1 million and grants of up to $300,000 are available.

Eligible applicants to receive funding under the REDLG program (which will be forwarded to selected eligible projects) include; any current or former USDA-RD’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Electric or Telecommunication Programs borrowers, or nonprofit utilities that are eligible to receive assistance from the RUS Electric or Telecommunication Programs.

Funding may be used to assist with business start-up and expansion costs; business incubators; feasibility studies; advanced telecommunications and computer networks for medical, educational and job training services; and community facilities that spur economic development. Awards are made on a competitive basis.

For example, in 2013, the Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), a USDA borrower since 1949 made possible Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market, Alaska’s first food cooperative, to open. GVEA is the grantee that was awarded a REDLG to fund a revolving loan which was used to help establish the Market. The store has already provided more than 20 new local jobs for residents.

Applications for available funding are due by December 31, 2016 for the Second Quarter; March 31, 2017 for the Third Quarter; and June 30, 2017 for the Fourth Quarter.

For details on how to apply and for additional information, see Page 83196 of the November 21, Federal Register. For more information, please contact Renee Johnson, Director, USDA-RD Alaska Business Programs at (907) 761-7712, or renee.johnson@ak.usda.gov.

Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) Alaska, has invested more than $2 billion in 226 rural Alaskan communities. These investments include project funding for housing, community facilities, business, energy, water and sewer, telecom and electric. This funding has helped to grow rural Alaska’s economy and enhance the quality of life for its rural residents.