WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager today announced the selection of 49 rural businesses, communities and rural public entities to receive $4.7 million to assist in disaster relief efforts. The funds will go to Presidentially-declared disaster areas affected by floods and tornadoes.

"Rural Development is awarding more than $4.7 million in disaster relief funding to assist rural communities in 14 states." Tonsager said. "The funding announced today will help community groups, towns and Indian tribes rebuild and revitalize their communities and their lives."

In June 2008, Lawrence County, Ill. was hit hard by damaging storms and flooding. The City of Lawrenceville, a Presidentially-declared disaster area, has been selected to receive a $98,000 grant to extend water and sewer services to an industrial park. The project is expected to create or save 47 jobs and assist five businesses.

The Town of Delhi in Northwest Louisiana has been selected to receive a $175,000 grant as part of a downtown revitalization project to facilitate small business development. This project is located in an area damaged by Hurricane Gustav.

The funding is being provided under the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program. Grants are available for rural projects to finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, as well as distance learning networks and adult education and employment programs. Rural public entities (towns, communities, state agencies, and authorities), Indian tribes and rural private non-profit corporations are eligible to apply for funding.