U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announces $3 million for Mississippi programs

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced more than $3 million in funding for renewable energy projects, projects to improve public health in the Mississippi Delta region and awards to support small farmers.

Vilsack made the announcement Thursday during a town hall meeting in Jackson.

“These awards will help improve rural health facilities in the Delta Region, help socially-disadvantaged business owners expand markets across the nation, and help small businesses save energy and grow their bottom line,” Vilsack said in a news release.

Funding is being provided through USDA’s Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer (SSDP) Grant program, the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program.

The recipients and projects are:

— Mississippi Association of Cooperatives: $199,998 to help eligible producers develop business and marketing plans, coordinate strategic planning sessions and conduct training workshops.

— Mississippi Meat Goat Producers: $200,000 to conduct seven training sessions focusing on five key risk management areas for goat meat producers.

— North Delta Producer Growers Association: $185,000 for technical assistance to transfer the management and operation of the Alcorn State University vegetable processing facility to the cooperative.

— Tri Country Agricultural Cooperative: $199,842 to help producers develop diversified marketing strategies and agricultural businesses.

— Winston County Self Help Association Inc.: $200,000 grant to provide business development, resource management, and legal assistance to eligible producers.

— Seward and Son Planting Company, Louise, Miss.: $49,625 to replace a grain dryer.

— Tuyet T. Vo, Union, Miss.: $26,446 to replace lighting, doors, fans, brooders and insulation in poultry houses.

— John Nguyen, Decatur, Miss.: $22,115 to install controllers, baffle curtains, fans, brooders and doors in poultry houses.

— Synergetics DCS, Inc., Starkville, Miss.: $230,122 to install a solar energy system.

— Synergetics Properties, LLC, Starkville, Miss.: $125,000 to install a solar energy system.

— David Palmer, LLC, Starkville, Miss.: $40,625 to install a solar energy system.

— Willie R. Gilbert, Lake, Miss.: $23,067 to install brooders, doors, cool cells, fans, vents and lighting in poultry houses.

— Delta Health Alliance Inc.: $900,000 to improve facilities at a rural health clinic and establish a telehealth network linking several medical facilities.

— Delta State University: $477,452 to provide advanced training for mental health counselors and mental health care services to children and teens.

— University of Mississippi Medical Center: $461,405 to establish a telehealth network, support continuing education for health care workers, and provide health and wellness education services.