Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of recipients for $6.45 million in grants to spur economic development and revitalization in rural communities.

"The funding announced today will be used for a broad range of economic development and revitalization projects in some of America's neediest communities," Vilsack said. "These investments underscore the Obama Administration's commitment to foster a healthy business climate by helping small and emerging rural enterprises create jobs and economic opportunities."

For example, the City of Vienna in rural Georgia will receive a $99,999 grant for rehabilitation and system improvements to three portions of the City's wastewater infrastructure. According to a 2008 system analysis, 50 percent of the facilities required immediate corrective action. These funds will completely rehabilitate two portions of the infrastructure that provide services to two of the city's major business areas. Remaining funds will go to improve the wastewater lagoon, which services every business in Vienna. At least ten jobs are expected to be created or saved with these funds.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Inc. in Waitsfield, Vt., has been selected to receive a $50,000 grant to help small and emerging businesses with three Vermont counties, Franklin, Orleans and Essex. The businesses will use the funds to promote and attract more tourism visitation and coordinate with other recreation and heritage attractions. The goal is to support small business partners and develop mechanisms for sustaining those partnerships for the long-term. The funding will help six businesses and save 51 jobs.

The applicants were selected to receive funding through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities program and the Rural Economic Area Partnership program. These programs help communities plan and implement economic development projects. The grants to be awarded are part of USDA Rural Development's annual budget and are not funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Funding of each grant recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

To read more about which groups received grants, link to the USDA press release here.