March 9, 2011
On Wednesday March 9, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the released of the Investments report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The report, entitled The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Working for Rural Communities, shows that the investments are renewing the Nation’s rural areas and providing benefits to the rural communities in all 50 states and in the territories.
According to USDA, Recovery Act projects are investing now in rural innovation through clean energy research and technology, in rural education through school improvements and educational reforms, and through the modernization and renewal of transportation, community facilities, water and broadband systems.
Two NSAC priorities in the Recovery Act – Business and Industry loans, including the set-aside for local and regional food enterprises, and farm loans, get mentioned in the report.
According to the report, “the Recovery Act allowed for RBS’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program to guarantee 528 loans, totaling $1.6 billion, for rural businesses across the country. RBS anticipates that 33,000 jobs will be created or saved as a result of these investments. ” No indication is given as to how many, if any, loan guarantees were made to local and regional food enterprises.
On farm loans, the report says the Farm Service Agency used Recovery Act Funds to provide 2,873 direct operating loans worth $181 million, 55 percent of which were to beginning, minority, or women farmers, and 90 percent of which were obligated within the first three weeks after becoming available, as FSA worked through its extensive backlog of borrower applications.
An electronic version of the report is available here.