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USDA Invests to Expand Opportunities for Rural Kentucky Businesses
Kentucky Ag Connection - 05/25/2022

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced that the Department is investing $770 million to help create new and better market opportunitie for rural businesses and people in 36 states and Puerto Rico. The investments include $640 million for 122 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities.

"The economic success of rural America has long been the bedrock of our Nation's economy as a whole," Vilsack said. "Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is prioritizing investment in jobs, businesses, and entrepreneurial opportunities in rural America. The investments we're announcing today demonstrate how USDA remains committed to helping people in rural America create new and better market opportunities for our country."

The funding will help a diverse rural America keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance. It will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. It will also help entrepreneurs and business cooperatives create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.

In Kentucky, the three projects are:

- Mega Highwall Mining LLC will receive $25 million. This Rural Development investment will be used to provide additional funding to purchase new equipment, fund working capital and pay loan closing costs. Mega Highwall Mining is in Ashland and provides highwall mining systems to mining operations throughout the country. This project will result in creating approximately 30 new jobs while saving 70 existing jobs.

- Buoy LLC will receive $1.49 million. This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase and expand a marina and campground at which services include annual boat slip rentals, annual recreational vehicle site rentals, watercraft fuel sales and consumable goods sales.

- Clintwood JOD LLC will receive $5.7 million. This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase new equipment, repair current equipment and provide working capital. Clintwood has eight permitted surface mines and 12 permitted deep mines, including two highwall mining systems, from which it has the capacity to produce approximately one million tons of High Vol A coal for the international steel market. The project will result in 28 jobs created and 261 jobs saved.

USDA is making 154 investments through three programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Programs, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.

The awards are being made in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.

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