USDA awards grants, loans to local entities preventing 100+ job loss

Published 2:18 pm Monday, November 9, 2020

With the help of a CARES Act Business and Industry loan guarantee to industries in Harlan County, over 100 jobs will be saved from the chopping block, including positions at JRL Coal and local law enforcement.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Administrator for Rural Business-Cooperative Service Rebeckah Freeman Adcock announced and awarded the grant on Friday, which will help to improve public safety.

“Kentucky’s coal country has been hit extremely hard, so saving well over 100 well-paying jobs will have a tremendous impact not only on the employees but their families and the community as a whole,” said Adcock. “Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA Rural Development continues to be a valuable partner in helping rural businesses and communities across the commonwealth.”

JRL Coal will use the awarded loan to provide working capital in support of business operations, which were negatively affected by the economic downturn relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement from the USDA.

“The USDA helps keep rural America working,” said Judge-Executive Dan Mosley. “This infusion of capital to JRL will help them sustain operations during this pandemic and keep nearly 170 people working in Harlan County.”

Mosley said the coal market has seen its ups and downs, noting a week go the stock market price of coal was at $50 per ton, something that has been placing strains on its operations.

“It’s difficult for coal companies to secure financing because of the roller coaster ride the industry has been on for years,” he said. “I’m thankful that USDA recognizes the importance this industry and JRL has on our community. I was honored to support this funding request to keep mining coal here, keep folks working, and supporting other businesses and vendors in the process.”

The city of Evarts and the Community Action, Inc. in Kentucky, which has a office in Harlan County and neighboring counties, will also receive amounts to help their agencies.

The city of Evarts will receive a $50,000 Community Facilities grant from the USDA to purchase two new trucks for the city’s police department in order to provide more effective and efficient emergency response and law enforcement.

Community Action KY Inc. will use $108,900 in grant funds to provide technical assistance to communities in identifying/planning community facility needs, identifying public and private financial resources, preparing community facility applications, improvement in operations management, and preparing reports/surveys necessary to request financial assistance for community facilities.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas, as stated by the department.

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