U.S. agriculture secretary announces funding for Midwest projectsby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Moorhead, Minn. — The U.S. Agriculture secretary has announced funding for 16 projects in the Midwest, designed to create jobs in rural areas.
In Minnesota, a $740,000 loan will pay to remodel the Bigfork Valley Hospital in northern Itasca County. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said health care is a critical need in rural communities.
"Having a functioning hospital particularly one that is updated and expanding operations and modernizing first of all helps attract physicians and nurses to a community," Vilsack said. "That's obviously important. Secondly it sends a strong message about the viability and vitality of a community."
The Bigfork hospital renovation will include an outpatient pharmacy, a 24-hour wellness area, a kitchen and dining room.
Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program dollars are distributed through rural electric cooperatives.