Crookston, Minn.—AURI has been awarded a $99,000 grant to assist more than a dozen biomass projects in eleven counties throughout rural Minnesota. The funding comes through USDA Rural Development from funds provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed into law by President Obama in February of 2009.
The grant will be used to provide Minnesota-based biomass producers and processors with technical assistance needed to meet the demands of the growing biomass processing industry in the state. AURI has identified projects in Winona, Stearns, Crow Wing, Steele, Mille Lacs, Mower, Faribault, Norman, Chisago, Lyon and Todd counties. This technical assistance is estimated to result in 19.5 jobs created and 12.5 jobs saved as well as the retention and development of main street businesses in Minnesota’s rural economy.
“We are thrilled to have been selected for this grant,” says AURI Executive Director Teresa Spaeth. “This helps support AURI efforts to provide hands-on assistance to rural businesses that are applying innovation to generating new sources of energy, process efficiencies and ultimately, creating new jobs.”
The Recovery Act funding was awarded through Rural Development’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which helps finance new and existing businesses as well as employment-related adult education programs. RBEG funds can be used for start-up and working capital loans, building and plant renovations, transportation improvements, project planning and other business needs. Minnesota has been awarded over $2 million in RBEG grants in the last year.
The award will be officially presented at the AURI Crookston Office on April 1st.