Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns yesterday announced the award of $97 million in guaranteed loans to help businesses in Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina create jobs and develop renewable energy systems.

The four recipients received funding through USDA's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (Section 9006) guaranteed loan program and the Business and Industry (B&I) guaranteed loan program. The Section 9006 program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to install renewable energy projects or make energy efficiency improvements.