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Rural Economic Development Assistance Available Through BCEC

BCEC is an equal opportunity lender

Big Country Electric Cooperative established a revolving loan fund in 2012 for the purpose of administering rural economic development loans. A limited amount of funds are available for low-interest loans to qualified applicants to stimulate rural development. Funding will only be used to issue loans that meet requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program.

How Does This Program Work?

The USDA provides grants to local utilities such as BCEC, who use the funding to establish revolving loan funds. In turn, BCEC passes funds through to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas, and those loan recipients repay the cooperative directly. When the revolving loan fund is terminated, the grant is repaid to the USDA.

Eligible Applicants

  • Business ventures, including corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships and cooperatives.
  • Governmental units, including local townships, municipalities, county governments, regional authorities, nonprofit entities and tribal authorities. Applicants do not have to be members of Big Country Electric Cooperative.

Types of Projects Eligible for RLF Funding

Projects must create or retain employment or provide needed community facilities and services such as industrial or commercial development, small business expansion or startup, business incubation, community infrastructure, community facilities, medical facilities, training or educational facilities, or tourism.

Types of Projects or Activities Ineligible for RLF Funding

  • Refinance existing debt or payment to business owners or partners.
  • Projects without any supplemental financing.
  • Activities determined to be for investment purposes.
  • General improvement loans related to normal replacement needs of a business and unrelated to business expansion or job creation.
  • Agricultural production costs (i.e., cultivation, production, harvesting).
  • Vehicles used for general purposes or that may be considered for personal use.
  • Projects that are primarily working capital with limited security.
  • Construction projects of an individual residential nature.
  • Illegal activities and legalized activities (e.g., gambling casinos) that, in the opinion of the board of directors, adversely affect RLF objectives.
  • Projects in which any director, officer, general manager or supervisory employee of Big Country EC, or close relative thereof, has a financial interest; projects in which any subsidiary or affiliated organization of Big Country EC has a financial interest; or projects which, based on the judgment of the board of directors, would create a conflict of interest, potential for conflict of interest, or any appearance of a conflict of interest.

This is an equal opportunity program. Discrimination is prohibited by federal law. Complaints of discrimination may be filed with the USDA, Director, Center for Civil Rights Enforcement, 1400 Independence Ave., Washington, DC 20250-9410. For a loan application and if you have any questions or need assistance completing the application, contact Sarah McLen at Big Country EC at (325) 776-3803 or [email protected].