COLUMBIA, MO (KBIA) - Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced $14 million in new funding Wednesday to help stimulate rural job growth. Small businesses across the country will get money, including a tiny airport in southeast Missouri.
Malden, Missouri, with just five thousand residents, wants to update its World War II era airport.
Airport manager Barbara Crayne. She says the $110,000 grant from the USDA for renovations will help attract more aircraft.
"We have an air-evac helicopter comes in. We have a lot of crop dusters because we are in an agricultural-based area," Crayne says.
But a she says a retrofitted hangar will attract corporate clients.
"The spinoff in the community is that they’re going in to the restaurants and to the shops, driving in possibly to get their aircraft, so they’re stopping at the gas stations," she says.
Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack says rural small businesses in particular often have trouble getting credit from commercial banks. These loans and grants are aimed at closing that gap.
"These small businesses will be prepared to have the credit they need to buy equipment that allows them to expand operations, which in turn allows them to hire workers," Vilsack says.
The agriculture department grants and loans will go to 69 recipients in 40 states.
Jacob Fenston, KBIA
Photo courtesy of the City of Malden.