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  6.  | USDA Rural Development Funding for a Hotel, Helicopter, and Seafood Processor

USDA Rural Development Funding for a Hotel, Helicopter, and Seafood Processor

Jun 5, 2023 | Agriculture, Government, News, Tourism, Transportation

rendering of mobile processor vessel

A rendering shows Northline Seafoods’ Hannah taking on salmon from smaller Bristol Bay vessels.

Northline Seafoods

Federal grants through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Partners Network (RPN) will pay for infrastructure upgrades in Alaska villages. The program’s loan guarantees also enable business enterprises to acquire fishing vessels and a helicopter.

Whirlybird and Wastewater 

Among the $394 million in awards for fifty-two projects across eight states and Puerto Rico, Alaska receives nearly $8 million in grants and nearly $58 million in loan guarantees.

The largest loan guarantee, $40 million under the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program, goes to Sayak Logistics, doing business as Northline Seafoods. The Sitka-based processor is building a mobile tender to consolidate freezing, packing, and storage of Bristol Bay salmon for transport to Bellingham, Washington. The Food Supply Chain program is part of USDA’s Build Back Better initiative.

The federal financing had been announced late last year, and Northline Seafoods is also borrowing $22 million from Greater Commercial Lending.

A $13.8 million loan guarantee under the Business and Industry Loan Guarantees program goes to the Ketchikan-based owner of the Waterfall Resort on Prince of Wales Island. The funds will be used to purchase more fishing vessels for the lodge. The lodge began as a cannery, operating from 1911 to 1973. The salmon fishery remains the resort’s main attraction.

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Alaska Business October 2023 Cover

October 2023

A $4 million rural development loan guarantee helps Pathfinder Aviation in Nome restructure debt and increase cash flow while purchasing a Eurocopter AS350 AStar helicopter. The company’s operations support mining, oil exploration, and firefighting. The investment is meant to create two jobs and sustain the company’s staff of sixty-two.

Apart from loan guarantees, RPN grants are largely for water and wastewater projects. Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is using the federal funds in Crooked Creek, Huslia, Kotlik, Nenana, Nunam Iqua, and Russian Mission. By far the largest grant, $5.6 million, goes to build a new sewage lagoon in Scammon Bay. Anderson, Pelican, and Kasaan also have water utility projects funded by RPN grants, and a $1 million grant pays for a new municipal landfill in Nulato.

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RPN is an all-of-government program with more than 800 federal, state, and local partners that collaborate to address specific needs in communities that have long struggled to access government programs and funding. Launched in April 2022 and expanded in November 2022, RPN is now active in thirty-six community networks in ten states and Puerto Rico.

Community networks receive support from full-time USDA staff who live and work locally. These staff members provide technical assistance based on each community’s needs, helping them navigate federal programs, build relationships, and prepare successful applications for funding.

“Through Rural Partners Network, USDA staff is on the ground listening to those many different voices in rural America and responding with funding and resources that will help people in small towns, rural places, and on Tribal lands build stronger communities and brighter futures,” says US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Alaska Business magazine October 2023 cover
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