USDA awards Puerto Rico $13.2M for 17 projects
The US Department of Agriculture announced it will award Puerto Rico some $13.2 million for 17 projects to help companies hire more workers and reach new customers, among other benefits.
The award is part of a $1.4 billion allocation to help businesses “keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
“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,” he said.
Of the projects that will receive funding in Puerto Rico, 15 are farmers and/or agriculture producers that will benefit from Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) for a total amount of $3,442,000. Two business received guaranteed loans for a combined $9.8 million. This investment created 93 new jobs and saved 107, said Luis R. García, acting State Director of USDA Rural Development Puerto Rico.
The VAPG awards went to, Tai Hay Farm, LLC of Mayaguez, De Hoyos Farm LLC of Utuado, Linda Rodríguez-Castillo of Camuy, Jaime Acevedo Quiles of Camuy, Finca Sur, LLC of Juana Diaz, Juan Pagan of Mayagüez, Urrutia Foods, Inc. of Camuy, Hacienda Tres Angeles Inc. of Utuado, Caribe Farm, Corporation of Juana Diaz, José N. Ramirez Lugo of Mayagüez, José L. Roig Franceschini of Mayagüez, GUR-Meat, Inc. of Camuy, Javier Velez of Utuado, and Ganaderos Borges Inc. of Caguas.
The business and industry guarantee loans were awarded to Precision Powered Product Inc of Cabo Rojo ($8.6 million) and Fusion Properties Management of Mayaguez ($1.2 million).
The funding also aims to open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. And it will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers in nearly every state create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.