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Minnesotans will get rural grants

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded 59 Minnesota farmers and small businesses grants totaling $2,868,225.

The Rural Development funds will be used to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems, and in making energy-efficiency improvements to their operations.

"Minnesota's rural economy must be protected," Franken said. "We're facing challenging times right now, and these grants will go a long way towards making sure our family farms and small businesses can compete in a 21st century economy. The recipients of today's grants are the lifeblood of Minnesota. We need to make sure they have the resources they need to continue their vital work."

Grants will benefit farmers and small businesses in Bemidji and other Minnesota communities.