Heidelberg Announces USDA Rural Development Loan

Press release provided by Heidelberg University.

Heidelberg University LogoTIFFIN – Heidelberg University is proud to announce the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a $36.5 million low-interest Rural Development loan to support a variety of campus initiatives directed at improving the student experience. The loan is designed to refinance existing debt to better position Heidelberg for long-term economic expansion and improve student housing, student learning facilities and student recruitment operations. Construction will begin soon on the restoration and renovation of historic France Residence Hall to integrate a living and learning community for approximately 70 female students and faculty. Several classroom spaces will also be improved to support new and existing academic programs.

President Rob Huntington states the USDA award is critical for success, “This loan assists our effort to make Heidelberg more financially stable, address student learning needs and greatly enhance student living and engaging spaces.” He adds, “Nearly $20 million dollars will be invested to drive our Academic Strategic Plan, support a living and learning community and create a unique greeting for the Office of Admission that will set the tone for an exceptional and persuasive visit experience for prospective students and their families. We are tremendously grateful to all elected officials in the city of Tiffin and Seneca County who continue to help us process this USDA loan. The loan helps us to restructure our debt and to renovate living and learning spaces on campus to better position Heidelberg in the very competitive higher education marketplace.”

The addition and upgrades to over 300 residential units is a major element in Heidelberg’s Residential Living Plan Vision. Chris Abrams, Dean of Student Affairs, states, “New student townhouse apartments will offer housing options and lifestyle flexibility for upper-class students. The improvements to France Hall and Miller Hall will provide students with modern amenities to help integrate living and learning opportunities.”

The Student & Community Welcome Center will create a “front door” at the East Market Street entrance to the campus. This 10,000-square-foot, two-story facility will house the Office of Admission and become home for the new Town Gown Bookstore. As part of Heidelberg’s Strategic Action Plan, which focuses on transformation, improvement and growth, the University aspires to not only maintain the current undergraduate population but to grow beyond it. The new bookstore will be open and inviting to the entire Tiffin community. Simultaneously, Heidelberg will move the Owen Academic and Career Support Center to the location of the current bookstore to create a larger and more accessible space to support student success.

Kathy Geier, Heidelberg University’s Board Chair agrees, “As Heidelberg University continues to grow, this loan positions us to provide quality facilities and programs for students and faculty. Refinancing, with a better interest rate on our debt, will result in savings. President Huntington and his team did an outstanding job over the course of the last 18 months to secure this loan and Heidelberg’s future.”

Terra receives grant for renovation, leadership and entrepreneurial center

Terra Logo 12.8Press release provided by Terra State Community College

Fremont, Ohio, September 7, 2018 – Through the Terra College Foundation, Terra State Community College has received a grant for nearly $288,000 from the United State Department of Agriculture in the form of a Rural Business Development Grant.  The funds will be used to renovate the first floor of the General Technologies Building for the new home of the Kern Center, as well as the Board Room on the second floor.

Additionally, a new leadership and entrepreneurial center will be created.  The new center will focus on area businesses, manufacturers, health care providers and their employees that want to advance to supervisory positions and need leadership training.  The center will be the first of its kind for community colleges in Ohio and will possibly open early next year.

Other updates to the building will be the addition of charging stations and computers for internet/email access in the atrium, new furniture for all rooms and teleconferencing capabilities.

Terra State Community College is a two-year accredited, state-supported, commuter college located in Fremont, Ohio. Terra State has a long history of service to the community and providing students with an education that is both accessible and affordable. Terra State offers twenty-two Applied Degrees and Certificates to students.

More recent news about Terra State Community College campus, programs, and community partnerships:

OSU Extension and USDA partner on Small Business Innovation Research grants

osu extensionThe USDA is seeking new technology and/or creative product ideas from grass roots innovators!  Got a great idea?  The USDA may be interested in funding the research and development of your concept!  Ohio State Extension is partnering with the USDA to promote the accessibility and availability of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.  OSU Extension will be offering two (2) workshops, one in Northeast Ohio (Lorain County Community College on June 19) and one in Southwest Ohio (OSU Lima Campus) to orient interested innovators, researchers, and practitioners to this grant opportunity and the grant application process.  Registration is open!


USDA logo

OSU will support innovators with coaching and mentoring through the grant writing process.  The USDA Request for Applications (RFA’s) are focused on select topic areas, so interested candidates are encouraged to visit the website (see below) to learn more.  If selected for a Phase I USDA SBIR grant, the recipient will receive $100,000 to develop a concept – no strings attached except to report back the results of the research and development.  If the initial phase is successful, additional funding (up to $600,000) is made available to complete the research and bring the solution to the market.  This is not a loan. Innovators own the intellectual property they create and maintain the ownership of their company.  Small businesses (between 1 and 500 employees), including small and mid-sized farms are eligible!

For more information about SBIR grants use this link: .

Register for a workshop today using the links below.  Your idea may be a game and life changer!

June 19 (Northeast Ohio):

June 21 (Southwest Ohio):

Workshop fosters partnerships with Federal labs

ohio mepOn Wednesday, August 10 from 9 am – 4 pm, leaders in engineering, manufacturing and technology are invited to attend “Partnering with Federal Labs,” a workshop sponsored by CIFT and MAGNET on behalf of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP). The workshop is designed to introduce business leaders to the Federal labs research centers that help push technology to the private marketplace.  The meeting will highlight how federal agencies’ expertise and technologies can assist Ohio firms.



USDA-Agricultural Research Service has already formed over 120 formal partnerships this year with companies of all sizes for the development and commercialization of technologies. As of 2015, more than 800 businesses, universities, governments and non-profit groups partnered with either Oak Ridge National Lab or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Through 2016, the Department of Energy is providing up to $20 million in vouchers so that small businesses can request technical assistance from national labs to help bring the next generation of clean technologies to market.


The workshop is designed to introduce business leaders to the Federal labs research centers that help push technology to the private marketplace. The meeting will highlight how federal agencies’ expertise and technologies can assist Ohio firms. Speakers include representatives from:

Federal Lab Consortium (FLC)

The FLC is the formally chartered, nationwide network of more than 300 federal laboratories, agencies, and research centers that fosters commercialization best practice strategies and opportunities for accelerating federal technologies from out of the labs and into the marketplace.


NASA John H. Glenn Research Center drives research, technology, and systems to advance aviation, advance space missions and aeronautics by leveraging core competencies to deliver from concept through applications. Examples include air breathing propulsion, cryogenic fluids management, communications technology, energy storage and conversion, and materials for extreme environments.

U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center

USDA – Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

The ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination. The ARS research agenda is broad, with about 750 research projects organized under four major program areas: Nutrition, Food Safety and Quality; Animal Production and Protection; Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems; and Crop Production and Protection.

Department of Energy, ORNL & NREL

The Department of Energy (DOE) has aligned resources to invest in technology research and development, new innovation models, technical assistance, and the shared technical facilities that help transition scientific innovations into new manufacturing capabilities. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have capabilities that include facilities and expertise in: solar, wind, water power, geothermal, bioenergy, buildings, fuel cells, batteries, vehicle technology, advanced manufacturing, and next generation materials.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

The Department of Commerce, NIST, promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. Laboratory capabilities include facilities and expertise in: Bioscience and Health, Building/Fire Research, Physics, Electronics/Telecommunications, Energy, Environment/Climate, Information Technology/Cyber, Manufacturing, Materials Science, Quality/Transportation, and more.

For more information, contact CIFT at 419-535-6000 or, or register here.

USDA Housing Programs


The US Department of Agriculture not only assists with loan and grant programs for businesses in rural communities, but also provides programs for home repair and ownership. Listed below are some of those programs:

Home Repair Loan Program provides up to $20,000 in loan financing to help very low income applicants in rural areas improve their living conditions and assist with needed home repairs. Terms include 1% interest and can extend up to 20 years. Loans less than $7,500 do not require a mortgage. Loans may be made for repairs to improve or modernize homes, or to remove health and safety hazards. The dwelling to be repaired must be located in a rural area eligible for Rural Development programs. Applicants must own and occupy the home to be repaired.

Home Repair Grant Program applicants must be at least 62 years of age and lack repayment ability for a 504 loan. Loan/grant combinations are possible when the applicant has repayment ability for a portion of the financial assistance needed. .There is a lifetime grant limit of $7,500. Grants must be used to correct health and safety conditions, not used to make cosmetic or convenience changes to the home.

Once your eligibility is confirmed and the application is complete, a representative from Rural Development will visit your property to further assess.

Home Ownership Direct Loans provide financing for individuals and families who cannot obtain credit from other sources to purchase homes in rural areas. All applicants must meet eligibility requirements. Applications are received at the Rural Development office serving the area where the house will be located. Funds may be used to purchase suitable existing homes, new site built homes, approved modular units, and new manufactured units from an approved dealer/contractor. Funds may also be used to repair or remodel homes, or to make the home accessible and usable for the disabled. Loans may be made for up to 100% of the appraised value of the site and the home. The maximum repayment period is 33 years. Based on household income, payment assistance can further reduce your mortgage payment.

For more information on any of the above programs, contact the Findlay Area Office at 419-422-0242 or or

Guaranteed Rural Housing Program includes 100% financing, no downpayment, affordable mortgage insurance, 30 years fixed interest rate, flexible credit and qualifying guidelines, no maximum purchase price, and closing costs, legal fees, and other eligible costs may be rolled into the loan. Applicants must have a steady and dependable income, demonstrate a reliable credit history with the ability and willingness to repay debts when they are due, and meet Rural Development’s “Adjusted” income limits for the county in which they are purchasing.

For more information, contact Vince Paumier at 614-255-2404,, or

USDA Opportunities


The US Department of Agriculture offers many grant and loan programs for rural communities, like those in Seneca County. Listed below are several of those programs:

REAP Grants

USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants are intended to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy development for rural small for-profit businesses and agricultural producers. The grant will not exceed 25% of the total eligible project costs. Priority consideration will be given for requests of less than $20,000. Combined guaranteed loan and grant packages cannot exceed 75% of the total project costs. Applications for 2016 will be considered bi-annually; submissions accepted year-round.

REAP Loan Guarantee applications will be received on a continuous cycle basis and funded on the first business day of each month.

For more information, contact Christie Hooks at 614-255-2397 or

Rural Business Development Grants

USDA Rural Business Development Grants are competitive grants designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. Local governments and nonprofits may apply. Grants range from $10,000 to $500,000. There are a variety of eligible activities: training and technical assistance, acquisition of land, pollution control, capitalization of revolving loan funds, distance adult learning, and other uses. Program activities are separated into enterprise or opportunity grant activities.

For more information, contact Cindy Musshel at 614-255-2427 or

Water and Wastewater Disposal Loans and Grants

Water and Wastewater Disposal Loans/Grants are direct loans and grants to build or improve essential public use facilities such as water and sewer facilities, storm sewers and solid waste facilities. Loans can be used for construction and non-construction costs including land, equipment, engineer services, legal services, capitalized interest, and initial operating funds.

Community Facility Loans and Grants

Community Facility (CF) Loans/Grants are administered through a USDA Rural Development program to develop community facilities for public use in rural areas and towns with populations of up to 20,000. Funds may not be used to construct, enlarge or improve facilities which provide essential services to rural residents and for non-construction costs including land, equipment, architectural services, legal services, capitalized interest and initial operating funds. Funds may not be used for commercial enterprises or recreational facilities.

For more information, contact Christopher Spellmire at 419-422-0242 or