The USDA-led Rural Partners Network will help create new and lasting economic opportunities for people in five community networks
ELM CITY, N.C., Oct. 27, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the expansion of the Rural Partners Network (RPN) to several communities in North Carolina. RPN is an all-of-government program that partners with rural people to access resources and funding to create local jobs, build infrastructure and support long-term economic stability on their own terms.
Today’s announcement is part of President Biden’s commitment to ensure all rural communities can benefit from federal resources, including historic funding provided by the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Vilsack and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu are in Elm City to meet with people, businesses and organizations who will benefit from RPN’s expansion.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring that people in rural communities have every opportunity to succeed – and that they can find those opportunities right at home in rural America,” Vilsack said. “Rural people make up America’s spirit and character and provide the everyday essentials our country depends on. We know that when rural people thrive, America thrives. By expanding the Rural Partners Network, we can help these important but often overlooked communities receive their fair share of government resources to keep rural people and economies in North Carolina prepared for the future.”
USDA Rural Development North Carolina State Director Reginald Speight added, “I recently had the opportunity to speak to several North Carolina communities about the Rural Partners Network and its mission to help rural people build prosperity through job creation, infrastructure development and community improvement. County and town leaders were excited about what they heard in these meetings. We are looking forward to continuing this excitement over the coming months and years by helping rural communities connect with the federal programs that can assist the betterment of rural America.”
RPN helps establish community networks in rural areas where local leaders and residents collaborate with civic and business organizations, nonprofits, service providers, development agencies and others to create new opportunities and build on the diversity of a region’s population and perspectives.
RPN has selected five community networks in North Carolina:
- Robeson, Bladen and Columbus County Community Network
- Glow House Foundation Community Network, including Randolph County
- Wilson, Edgecombe, Nash and Johnston Community Network
- Halifax-Northampton Community Network
- Albemarle-Roanoke Community Network, including Bertie, Martin, Tyrrell and Washington counties
Background: Rural Partners Network
Secretary Vilsack and Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Advisor, launched the Rural Partners Network in April 2022 in 14 communities in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, including Native American communities in Arizona.
Rural Partners Network communities receive on-the-ground support from full-time federal staff members assigned to provide technical assistance tailored to the community’s unique needs and objectives. These community liaisons live and work in the rural communities they serve, allowing them to develop partnerships with local leaders to promote growth and prosperity for rural families and local communities.
These federal staff members help rural communities navigate federal programs, build relationships, identify community-driven solutions and develop successful applications for funding.
Additionally, RPN includes an all-of-government strategy supported by more than 20 federal agencies and commissions working closely together with each other, rural communities, and existing programs and policies. Communities also benefit from coordination through other federal efforts such as the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. The Rural Prosperity Interagency Policy Council, co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA, advises the RPN program and escalates lessons learned through RPN for policy consideration. A team of Rural Desk Officers representing each participating federal agency or regional commission supports the RPN program and the selected Community Networks.
To deliver on the promise to make federal resources more readily available to underserved communities across rural America, the Biden-Harris Administration is seeking additional federal funding in order to expand the Rural Partners Network to additional places in fiscal year 2023.
Information about the Rural Partners Network is available online at Rural.gov.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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