WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that rural communities in 32 states will benefit from loans and grants provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"These projects help rural communities build and upgrade essential infrastructure and demonstrate President Obama's continued efforts to improve the quality of life for rural residents throughout the country," Vilsack said. "We are seeing towns and communities across America receive significant benefits through the Recovery Act, even as these projects are putting countless people back to work."

The $193 million in Recovery Act projects being announced today are funded through USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program and will be matched with $68.5 million from other sources. Funding of each loan and grant is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the agreement.

In rural Colorado, Bayfield Early Education Programs, Inc. has been selected to receive a $500,000 loan and a $200,000 grant to purchase land and construct an early education center to meet the preschool, after-school and summer camp needs of the community. Currently, the education center is at capacity and has dozens of children on the waiting list. Construction of the new facility will allow additional educational and daycare opportunities for working families in the community.

The Farmers Market in Elizabethtown, N.C., has been selected to receive a $506,740 loan and $200,000 grant to create an area for farmers to sell their locally grown produce. This project, which supports USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative, includes modifications to an existing grocery store to accommodate the farmers market, as well as the construction of a covered outdoor air market space and new parking layout. The grocery store is a 60-year-old local landmark and the revitalization helps Elizabethtown retain its small town charm while enhancing economic opportunities, strengthening local food systems and creating a stronger link between local food production and local consumption.

Complete list of the selected recipients.

SOURCE: USDA.