Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the availability of over $306 million in loans for rural electric utilities and $52.5 million in loans and grants to construct off-farm housing and help low- and very-low-income homeowners make needed repairs.
"These funds will bring electricity to more than 47,500 new customers and finance the construction of 2,891 miles of distribution line," Johanns says of the electric loans, which will go to utilities in Ala., Colo., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Kan., Miss., Mo., N.M., N.C., Okla., S.C., Texas, and Wis. A complete list of the loan recipients is available at: www.rurdev.usda.gov
"Affordable housing is one of several important contributors to strong rural communities and since 2001 USDA has helped more than 765,000 people build, improve or rent affordable housing in rural America," Johanns says of the housing funds.
USDA plans to make available $31.9 million for Section 514 farm labor housing loans and approximately $10.5 million for Section 516 farm labor housing grants. The department also plans to distribute $10.1 million to help finance rural housing repairs through the Section 533 Housing Preservation Grant program.
Applications for farm labor housing assistance as well for housing preservation grant aid are due June 18. Applications may be obtained by contacting the applicant's USDA Rural Development State Office. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov.