USDA invests in partnership
Posted: Monday, January 24, 2011 6:01 pm
Congressman Stephen Fincher and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode recently announced federal funding for a five county regional partnership in northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky.
The announcement of the new partnership was made at the Obion County Chamber of Commerce.
The partnership was formed to develop a strategy for attracting, keeping and growing small businesses.
“Small businesses are the economic engines of rural communities, creating jobs and a healthy, diversified local economy,” Goode said.
“This region has a wealth of assets to build on. Working together to develop a coordinated plan, local leaders will be in a much stronger position to put those assets to work in a way that benefits everybody.”
The $20,000 grant from USDA Rural Development and the Delta Regional Authority will be matched by $25,000 in funding from the partnering counties, according to Obion County Community Development Coordinator Lindsay Frilling.
The partnership was formed to improve the lines of communication between participating agencies and local governments to better promote the region and leverage market outreach efforts.
Participating counties include Obion, Lake and Weakley in Tennessee and Hickman and Fulton counties in Kentucky.
Among those attending the formal announcement of the new partnership were Sen. Lamar Alexander’s representative Matt Varino, State Rep. Andy Holt, Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire, Lake County Mayor Macie Robertson, Weakley County Mayor Houston Patrick, Fulton County Judge/Executive David Gallagher, Fulton Mayor Dan Voegeli, Obion County Chamber of Commerce representative Jim Rippy, Delta Regional Authority Co-Chairman Mike Marshall, Fulton/Hickman County, Ky. Economic Development Partnership representative Eddie Crittendon, Rural Development Area Director Harriet Cannon and staff members Van Wylie and Mitzi Hailey.
Rural Development business programs help local governments and non-profit organizations improve local business infrastructure and promote job growth.
Business loans provide needed financing for rural businesses, and loan-guarantees are also available to help private lenders to increase the pool of investment capital available for business start-up, modernization and expansion in eligible rural areas.
USDA Rural Develop-ment invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities.
With supplemental funding through the federal Recovery Act, the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses with more than $1.3 billion in financial assistance through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
More than 86 percent of these investments will be paid back with interest. The rest is at work creating jobs, broadening the local tax base and increasing opportunities in education, training, health care and public safety.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in West Tennessee, contact the Rural Development Area Office in Union City at 885-6480 (Extension 4) or visit the agency’s website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.