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rural development

Rural Development Project Uses 3D Printing in Fight against COVID-19 Spread

As Kentucky does its best to battle the spread of COVID-19, state officials and medical providers have been looking for ways to answer the increasing need for medical personal protective equipment. One of those responding in a big way here in Kentucky is a somewhat unlikely source: Somerset Community College.

Paying it Forward When it Really Counts

Connie Baker is the epitome of the strong sense of community and support in Colorado’s rural areas, so it was no surprise to me when she recently stepped forward to help folks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Educational Opportunities Spread with Broadband Expansion in Rural America

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.”

I was reminded of this powerful proverb while preparing for our ReConnect program announcement. As a former teacher, education and its long-reaching benefits are dear to my heart. While joining Deputy Under Secretary Donald “DJ” LaVoy at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky, to announce over $55.3 million in ReConnect funding, I thought of the impact this funding would have on the education of our fellow Kentuckians.

“Our People Are Our Biggest Asset:” Determined Coastal Community Stands Up for Broadband

The bold and rugged coast of Downeast Maine is home to a rural community of 300, where the people have made a living off the land and sea for generations. The Town of Roque Bluffs contains a state park and boasts some of the most beautiful coastline in Maine - yet it is the people who are its biggest asset. When they saw an opportunity to bring broadband to their tiny town, they were determined to make it happen.

A Uniquely Alaskan Solution to Bring Broadband to an Isolated Gulf Community

Imagine building a broadband network where there are no roads to move supplies, or electrical grids to power cellular towers. Yakutat is an isolated community of about 650 tucked into a sheltered bay off the Gulf of Alaska, disconnected from the road system, and hundreds of miles from Alaska population centers. Like many remote Alaskan villages, most residents in Yakutat adopt a subsistence form of living, depending heavily off the land and sea to survive. For Yakutat, which has a substantial Alaska Native population and struggles with a fifteen percent poverty rate, modern conveniences like fast internet are unavailable.

Farming in the 21st Century Requires Being Connected

As you step onto Bebb Farms in rural Labette County, Kan., you see tractors, combines, sprayers, grain bins, and semis. All necessary equipment on a Kansas farm, but perhaps the most important equipment you don’t see is the Internet.

Connecting South Dakota’s Rural Communities to Opportunities in Business, Education, Health Care and Beyond

In early December, I had the privilege of announcing a USDA Rural Development ReConnect Pilot Program investment of more than $9.5 million to Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. dba Valley FiberCom in Flandreau, South Dakota. This investment will help Valley deploy high-speed broadband internet e-Connectivity to more than 1,750 rural households, 27 farms, 17 businesses and one critical community facility.

New Youngsville, Louisiana High School, Funded by USDA, Helps Drive Community Growth, Prosperity

It was almost 50 years since a new high school was constructed in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. Now, thanks to support from USDA Rural Development, the 8,000 residents of Youngsville, a growing community in the parish, have a state-of-the-art school: one that all area high school students attend with pride.