WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding to help small towns and communities in 14 states that have been affected by natural disasters.

"When disasters strike, USDA works with local and state officials to assist them so that communities and businesses can get back on track," Vilsack said. "This funding will help residents of rural communities in counties that have been declared disaster areas by President Obama in their recovery efforts."

More than $31.6 million is being made available through Rural Development's Community Facilities program, which finances essential buildings and equipment for public use in rural areas. These funds, which are competitively awarded through an application process, are available to public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes.

Funds may be used to purchase first responder vehicles and equipment such as fire and police and medical emergency vehicles, emergency generators, computers, snow plows, truck plows and other essential equipment. The 14 states and the amount of funding they will receive are listed below.

Arkansas, $1,162,000 grant

Iowa, $2,712,118 grant; $18,900,000 loan

Kan., $10,450 grant

Ky., $933,433 grant; $58,500 loan

La., $342,527 grant

Mich., $202,000 grant; $873,000 loan

Mo., $827,395 grant; $44,700 loan

Miss., $383,770 grant

Nev., $11,000 grant

Tenn., $200,000 grant

Texas, $687,193 grants; $133,870 loan

Wash., $1,000,000 grant; $1,943,800 loan

Wis., $703,360 grant; $125,000 loan

W. Va., $130,200 grant; $203,000 loan

USDA, under its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $130 billion in loans and loan guarantees.