Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the selection of 34 loan and grant recipients in 17 states that will receive $10.9 million in rural business development funds.  The loans and grants will support 55 business ventures and assist in the creation or saving of over 900 rural jobs and as part of the Bush Administration’s ongoing efforts to spur economic development in rural areas.

“The Bush Administration is committed to the future of America’s rural communities,” said Veneman.   “The funds will provide continued support for locally-driven community and economic development efforts.” 

The grants and loans are awarded through USDA Rural Development to cooperative organizations, which in turn provide loans or grants to support local economic or community development efforts.  Funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including community facilities and infrastructure, improving access to local medical care and other projects that encourage a favorable climate for jobs and growth.  Of the $10.9 million announced, $1.3 million will be used to assist in the development of renewable energy ventures that support President Bush’s Energy Plan for greater use of renewable energy.   Many of the awards are made in conjunction with assistance from other sources, “leveraging” USDA funds for greater effect.

Funding of selected applicants will be contingent upon meeting the conditions of the loan and/or grant agreement. A list of the awards can be found at

Alabama                    $400,000
Illinois                         $450,000
Indiana                       $200,000
Iowa                            $1,186,000
Kansas                       $1,994,000
Kentucky                    $300,000
Minnesota                  $2,725,000
Mississippi                $450,000
Missouri                     $100,000
Nebraska                  $450,000
New Mexico                $450,000
North Carolina            $210,000
North Dakota              $200,000
Oklahoma                  $352,000
South Dakota            $750,000
Tennessee                 $450,000
Wisconsin                 $225,000

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's Web site at