Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the selection of 26 loan and grant recipients in 14 states that will receive $9.2 million in rural business development funds.

"I applaud the local community leadership for their efforts to secure these investments, which are needed to create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life available in their community," said Johanns. "These funds are part of the Bush Administration's ongoing efforts to spur economic development in rural areas and will help save or create more than 1,800 jobs."

The grants and loans are awarded through USDA Rural Development to electric and telecommunications cooperative organizations, which in turn provide loans or grants to support local economic or community development efforts. These funds are also part of an important leveraging effort. The $9.2 million in USDA investments will be matched with $59.7 million in additional investments to support a variety of businesses and community ventures, including community facilities and infrastructure, improving access to local medical care and other projects that encourage a favorable climate for jobs and growth.

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

Source: Government Release