The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday that applications are being accepted from qualified non-profit and public organizations to provide loans to support rural businesses and community development groups.
According to the press release, the USDA said the funding is intended to create business expansion and create jobs will be made available through USDA's Intermediary Relending Program (IRP).
"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 IRP is USDA Rural Development's primary program for capitalizing revolving loan funds. USDA lends money to economic development intermediaries (nonprofits and public bodies) who in turn re-lend the funds as commercial loans to rural businesses (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. Since President Obama took office, the program has created or saved an estimated 20,000 jobs.
The statement noted that a $500,000 IRP loan was awarded to the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries (ADAI) to establish a revolving loan fund providing low-interest loans to ultimate recipients- businesses and communities-for energy efficient and energy saving projects. ADAI needed an affordable financing program to assist rural businesses and communities with alternative fuel production, delivery and energy savings investments. The first low-interest loan from ADAI assisted with equipment purchases for a new, small rural Alabama business. The business opening created seven jobs.