USDA invests over $56 million to support Kentucky businesses, rural jobs

Several mark investments in small businesses, rural job programs

LEXINGTON, Ky., (WTVQ) – United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday the department is investing more than $56.8 million to help rural Kentucky keep resources and wealth right at home.

This announcement is part of a larger $1.4 billion announcement made today benefitting 49 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“For some time, rural America has been at the mercy of an extraction economy, where resources are taken from rural lands only to create jobs and economic opportunity in urban and suburban areas,” Vilsack said. “That’s why USDA is committed to doing what we can to change that extraction economy into a circular economy, where value is added closer to home, so the wealth created in rural areas stays in rural areas. Today’s announcement underlines the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to helping transform the economy and bring high-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the people who need it most.”

Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation Inc., or SKED, will use a $1,000,000 Intermediary Relending Program loan to provide capital to small businesses within a 45-county service area. This project will result in job creation and stabilization, which will help stimulate the area’s rural economy. Counties impacted include Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Harlan, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Taylor, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.

Kentucky Center For Ag & Rural Development, or KCARD, will use a $200,000 Rural Community Development Grant to provide a multitude of services benefiting existing agricultural and rural businesses including hands-on technical assistance, relevant educational opportunities addressing cooperative challenges, and developing collaborative support networks.

Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation will use a $220,980 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program grant to assist rural microentrepreneurs in achieving a degree of business preparedness and/or functioning that will allow them to obtain, or have the ability to obtain, one or more business loans of $50,000 or less. Counties impacted include Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Estill, Harlan, Jackson, Knox, Bell, Laurel, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Madison, McCreary, Owsley, Perry, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell, Wayne, and Whitley.

Community Ventures Corporation will use a $5,591 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program grant to assist rural microentrepreneurs in achieving a degree of business preparedness and/or functioning that will allow them to obtain, or have the ability to obtain, one or more business loans of $50,000 or less. Counties impacted include Adair, Allen, Anderson, Ballard, Barren, Boone, Bourbon, Boyle, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carlisle, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Clark, Crittenden, Cumberland, Daviess, Edmonson, Estill, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Garrard, Grant, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Hart, Henderson, Henry, Hickman, Hopkins, Jessamine, Kenton, Larue, Lincoln, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Meade, Mercer, Metcalfe, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Nicholas, Ohio, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Powell, Scott, Shelby, Simpson, Spencer, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Trimble, Union, Warren, Washington, Webster, and Woodford.

Need More Acres Farm LLC (Allen County) will use a $249,939 Value-Added Producer grant to help package and market meal kits containing meats and vegetables produced on their farm as well as other local farms. This project will serve South Central Kentucky and result in one new job.

Skinner Farms LLC (Shelby County) will use a $138,134 Value-Added Producer grant to help market their pastured pork, turkey, chicken, and eggs. The project will serve a radius of approximately 100 miles from the applicant’s farm and result in creating two full time jobs and one part-time job.

Cornett Enterprises LLC (Laurel County) will use a $250,000 Value-Added Producer grant to help grow tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and a number of other vegetables to be marketed locally. The project will serve a radius of approximately 250 miles from the applicant’s farm and result in 16 jobs being saved.

J Anderson Farms (Pulaski County) will use a $12,335 Value-Added Producer grant to conduct a feasibility study on developing a beef processing plant in South Central Kentucky. This feasibility study will inform decisions made to create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income.

Siddens Farm Beef LLC (Barren County) will use a $44,634 Value-Added Producer grant to expand their sales of direct-to-consumer beef.

Triple J Farm (Scott County) will use a $147,294 Value-Added Producer grant to expand the market for its locally produced vegetables, beef and eggs.

Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese Inc. (Barren County) will use a $138,080 Value-Added Producer grant to expand the market for their ready-to-serve sliced and shredded cheeses.

The Jericho Farmhouse LLC (Henry County) will use a $121,998 Value-Added Producer grant to expand sales of their packaged beef.

Also included in Wednesday’s announcement are seven Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program investments totaling over $37.6 million and two Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program investments totaling over $16.7 million that were funded through the CARES Act. Counties benefitting from these investments include McCracken, McCreary, McCreary, Pike, Pulaski, Pulaski, Taylor, Taylor, and Whitley.

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