HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is providing loan guarantees to 90 businesses in 32 states, the Virgin Islands and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico to provide economic opportunities and create jobs. The funding is made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).

Vilsack made the announcement today at the Pennsylvania State Capitol. The Secretary made the announcement on the same day that the Labor Department announced that Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 290,000 in April.  Job gains occurred in manufacturing, professional and business services, health care, and leisure and hospitality.

"Today's announcement is great news for rural communities across America, providing important investments to businesses that will create jobs and stimulate local economies," Vilsack said. "Supporting residents in rural communities is one of the many ways the Obama Administration and USDA are working to rebuild and revitalize rural America."

The $299 million for the 90 guaranteed loans announced today is being provided by USDA Rural Development's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program. Including today's announcement, the loan guarantees that USDA has provided to more than 350 businesses in the last seven months will help create or save an estimated 23,500 jobs.

In Ida Grove, Iowa, Quad County Corn Processors Cooperative has been selected to receive a $1.5 million guaranteed loan to purchase and install equipment for a 30-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant.  The guaranteed loan will increase the cooperative's income from the sale of corn oil.

In rural Massachusetts, Community Health Programs, Inc. has been selected to receive a $3.6 million guaranteed loan to construct a new health facility.  The project, which will leverage an additional $322,000 from other sources, will allow Community Health Programs to offer increased access to its services throughout Berkshire County.  Its current facility has 14 exam rooms and limited space to offer its community programs. The new facility will include a 19-room clinic and greatly increased space for community programs.  The borrower is a federally-recognized community health clinic and provides outpatient medical services to low-income and vulnerable populations.

Through the Recovery Act, USDA Rural Development received $1.57 billion for Business and Industry guaranteed loans to help rural businesses stimulate their economies and support local communities.  Eligible applicants include private businesses, cooperative organizations, corporations, partnerships, non-profit groups, Federally-recognized Indian tribes, public bodies and individuals.  Funds must be used to create and retain quality jobs and serve difficult-to-reach populations and areas hardest hit by the current economic downturn.

A list of borrowers receiving guaranteed loans is online.

SOURCE: USDA.