Press Release

Cuellar Provision Expands Hidalgo's Eligibility for Millions in Federal Funding

Farm Bill Language Expands Eligibility for Rural Development Grants and Loans to Rural Hidalgo County

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Washington, May 6, 2009 | Thomas Seay (202-225-1640) | comments
Congressman Henry Cuellar today announced that, under new rules issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), certain areas of Hidalgo County are now eligible to apply for millions of dollars in USDA rural development funding. The rule change resulted from legislative language that Congressman Cuellar authored and included in the committee report for the 2008 Farm Bill.
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Congressman Henry Cuellar today announced that, under new rules issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), certain areas of Hidalgo County are now eligible to apply for millions of dollars in USDA rural development funding.

The rule change resulted from legislative language that Congressman Cuellar authored and included in the committee report for the 2008 Farm Bill. Projects eligible for funding include those that will create or preserve quality jobs or promote a clean rural environment.

Congressman Cuellar said, “In today’s challenging economy, many rural Hidalgo County communities have been especially hard hit. The law that I helped to write will expand these areas’ eligibility for millions of dollars in federal funding, helping to create new jobs, strengthen the rural economy, and put South Texas families back on the path to success.”

Projects located within the Cities of Palmview, Pharr, Hidalgo, Alton, LaJoya, and Penitas will now be considered for the following programs:

  • Business and Industry Loan Guarantees are provided by USDA Rural Development to help local lenders provide credit needed for expansion and preservation of jobs in rural communities. The guarantee allows lenders to make larger loans, provide better rates and terms, and bring additional capital into the community. Loan proceeds may be used for working capital, purchase of machinery and equipment, purchase of buildings and real estate, and certain types of debt refinancing.
  • Rural Business Enterprise Grants finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment related adult education programs.
  • Rural Business Opportunity Grants provide technical assistance for business development and conducting economic development planning.
  • The Intermediary Relending Program awards loans on a competitive basis and are intended to foster rural development through business loans for real estate, equipment, working capital, and refinancing for non-farm businesses.
  • The Rural Economic Development Loan Program provides financing to eligible Rural Utilities Service electric or telecommunications borrowers to promote rural economic development and job creation projects.
USDA Rural Development works to ensure that rural citizens can participate fully in the global economy by providing technical assistance, funding, and other programs that help rural Americans build strong economies to improve their quality of life. For more information regarding USDA Rural Development Programs, visit http://rurdev.usda.gov/tx/.

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Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Government Oversight & Reform Committees in the 111th Congress. Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip and member of the Blue Dog Coalition.

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