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Agricultural News

Deputy Secretary Merrigan Awards Grant to Pioneer Telephone in Kingfisher

Thu, 13 May 2010 11:24:25 CDT

Deputy Secretary Merrigan Awards Grant to Pioneer Telephone in Kingfisher Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced the recipients of loans and grants to spur economic development and create or save jobs in rural areas. USDA is providing these awards through three Rural Development program: The Intermediary Relending Program, Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, and the Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program for Rural Economic Area Partnerships. A telephone cooperative in Kingfisher was among the recipients announced today. Funding is authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).

"The funding we are announcing today will help rural businesses and entrepreneurs obtain the financing they need to thrive, grow and create jobs," Merrigan said. "These grants and loans represent the Obama Administration's ongoing commitment to ensure that rural communities attract capital investments that lead to business development and job creation."

To help create new economic opportunities, USDA has selected small businesses from across the country to receive funds under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, as well as the Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program for Rural Economic Area Partnerships. Several of these businesses will benefit from local partnerships between USDA Rural Development and a local utility or cooperative. In addition, loans are being made through USDA Rural Development's Intermediary Relending Program. USDA provides the funds to community development or regional planning groups who then re-lend them to local businesses. Loans are used to start new businesses, expand existing ones, and create or retain jobs. In all, USDA announced more than $21.3 million today to provide economic development and business creation opportunities for rural communities across the nation.

For example, the Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc., in Kingfisher, Okla., has been selected to receive a $91,320 Rural Economic Development Grant to establish a revolving loan fund and provide a no-interest loan to Kingfisher Regional Hospital. The hospital will purchase equipment and furniture for the Rehabilitation Services and Specialty Clinic that is under construction at the new hospital complex. This project is expected to create five jobs.

During her visit to Kingfisher, Deputy Secretary Merrigan visited the Pioneer Cooperative, which is also a recipient of funding through the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP). As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Pioneer was awarded $1.81 million BIP loan and a $1.78 million BIP grant earlier this year. The cooperative will use the funding to design, engineer, and construct a fixed wireless broadband network that will extend from Kansas to the Texas border along the Western quarter of the state.



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