HANCOCK, Wis., Sept. 21, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wisconsin State Director Julie Lassa today announced at Top Tier Ingredients that USDA is funding 12 projects to improve the economy and quality of life for people living and working in rural areas across Wisconsin.
USDA is providing $32,243,819 in loans and grants to fund projects within the Rural Partners Network (RPN) in Wisconsin. These investments will expand access to jobs, business opportunities, quality health care, clean water, and renewable energy.
Top Tier Ingredients LLC, within the Adams County Visionary Community Network, will use a $21 million Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan to finance a new potato dehydration facility in Hancock. The facility will produce potato flake and potato flour ingredients used for the baking and snack food industry. Once operational, the business will have the capacity to process 20-22 million pounds of flakes annually. The total project cost for the new facility is $31 million and will create 18 new jobs.
“This is an exciting investment that will make a positive impact on the people who live and work in the Adams County Visionary Community Network,” said Lassa. “The Rural Partners Network is central to the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to rebuilding the economy and strengthening rural communities.” [Audio: Mp3, 14 seconds, 350 KB]
Today’s $32 million announcement will support 12 projects in Wisconsin. For example:
Adams County Visionary Community Network:
- Tres Comas LLC will use a $2,480,000 Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan to purchase and improve the Camp Lake Mason Campground in Briggsville, Wisconsin. Three new jobs will be created, and another one job will be saved because of this investment.
Northwestern Wisconsin Community Network:
- The City of Augusta will use a $24,500 Community Facilities grant to purchase a law enforcement vehicle for the Augusta Law Enforcement Department.
- The City of Bloomer will use a $406,000 Water and Waste Disposal loan and a $443,000 Water and Waste Disposal grant to provide additional financing due to increased project bid costs on upgrades to the City of Bloomer water and sewer system.
- The City of Bloomer will use a $629,000 Water and Waste Disposal loan to provide additional financing for upgrades to water and sewer systems.
- The City of Thorp will use a $905,000 Water and Waste Disposal loan and a $905,000 Water and Waste Disposal grant to provide additional financing due to increased project bid costs on upgrades to the City of Thorp’s wastewater treatment facility.
- Ace Ethanol LLC will use a $1,857,653 Biofuel Producer’s Relief Program grant to provide additional financing to biofuel producers to recover from unexpected market losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ace Ethanol LLC is receiving additional funding for two ethanol-production facilities in Wisconsin.
- Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation will use a $54,800 Rural Business Development Grant to provide technical assistance to small businesses in Chippewa County. Assistance involves rating feedstock and infrastructure to determine bio-economy development risks, issuing a risk rating, and marketing the area for biomass plant development based on the risk rating. The project will assist more than three area businesses.
- Joseph Dolle, a grain farmer in Trempealeau, will use a $11,672 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant to install a 12-kW ground mount solar photovoltaic array. This project is expected to save $1,545 a year. It will replace 11,528 kWh (100 percent of the company’s energy use) per year.
- John Sippl, a cattle farmer in Menomonie, will use a $6,000 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant to install a 9.6-kW(kilowatt) ground mount solar PV array. This project is expected to save $927 year. It will replace 7,730 kilowatt hours (kWh) (100 percent of the company’s energy use) per year.
- Aaron Wilhelm, a small business owner in Fall Creek, will use a $9,841 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant to install a roof mounted solar electric array. This project is expected to save $1,387 per year and will replace 11,007 kilowatt hours (100 percent of the businesses’ energy use) per year.
Northern Wisconsin Community Network:
- Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians will use a $99,443 Rural Business Development Grant to provide technical assistance through business planning, networking, and other needed resources to Bad River Tribal members and other area businesses. The project will focus on the Tribe’s Sustainable Business Program and its emerging and established small-business owners. It will help at least three businesses and create six jobs.
Background: Rural Partners Network
Launched in April 2022 and expanded in November 2022, RPN is now active in 36 community networks in 10 states and Puerto Rico.
Community networks receive support from full-time USDA staff. These staff members provide technical assistance based on each community’s needs, helping them navigate federal programs, build relationships and apply for funding. In addition to USDA staff, there are staff at more than 24 other federal agencies dedicated to RPN and making resources across the government easier to access for people in rural communities.
RPN communities also benefit from coordination through other federal efforts such as the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Investing in America agenda. The Rural Prosperity Interagency Policy Council, co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA, advises the RPN program and ensures rural voices are heard and reflected in national policies that will benefit all people in rural communities.
Since RPN’s launch, USDA has provided more than $800 million to fund a variety of projects in RPN communities.
For more information on RPN, visit Rural.gov.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.