DES MOINES — During the past year a relatively small mission area within the U.S. Department of Agriculture has assisted thousands of rural Iowans by helping bring nearly half a billion dollars to rural Iowa to support community and economic development projects throughout the state.
USDA Rural Development invested $498 million into rural Iowa in 2013 to develop homeownership opportunities, as well as wide variety of job-creation and community-improvement projects and activities.
For instance, USDA Rural Development funds were used to build a road in Warren County to support an expanding small business, helped the city of Corwith plan for a new fire station, developed an indoor farmers’ market facility in Ottumwa and will assist with the upcoming remodeling and expansion at Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars.
“Our focus is on the viability of rural communities which are so vital to our state and nation,” said Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development state director in Iowa. “These are the places that help support American agriculture and foster an ethic that impacts our workforce, our military and our economy. We are working with communities to create jobs, expand opportunity, encourage innovation and build a strong foundation for the future.”
In 2013, USDA Rural Development funding, through 40 direct loan, guaranteed loan and grant programs, helped 2,600 rural Iowa families purchase homes, created or retained more than 1,000 jobs, and assisted 60 communities with improvements to facilities, services and infrastructure.
This fall a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the future home of C&L Companies’ new warehouse and distribution and testing facility in rural Warren County. USDA Rural Development provided a $1 million rural economic development loan to assist with the expansion project.
Additionally, a $280,000 rural economic development grant helped make upgrades to the roadway near the warehouse and distribution facility. C&L Companies is a manufacturer of after-market motorcycle component parts. The project is estimated to create 14 new jobs.