The funding will help people living in historically underserved communities in 9 states and Puerto Rico
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is providing $262 million to improve access to jobs, health care and infrastructure for people in historically underserved communities across the Rural Partners Network (RPN).
“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are committed to ensuring that people in rural areas have every opportunity to succeed – and that they can find those opportunities right at home in rural America,” Under Secretary Torres Small said. “From renewable energy and new jobs to clean water and quality health care, the Rural Partners Network is connecting rural people to resources that will help them create new and lasting prosperity on their own terms.”
The Biden-Harris Administration established RPN to transform the way federal agencies partner with and serve rural people and places, including Native American communities. Led by USDA with support from more than 20 federal agencies and commissions, RPN is central to President Biden’s commitment to ensure all rural people can benefit from federal resources. This includes historic funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Torres Small announced the $262 million in funding while visiting with people and organizations in North Carolina participating in RPN. While there, she unveiled an annual report documenting RPN’s accomplishments in its first year and how the network is helping to shape investment strategies for rural communities.
The funding announced today will support 68 projects in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico.
The funding will create jobs for rural people and help them expand their businesses. It will provide affordable, well-built homes for seniors and low-income families in rural areas. It will help farmers and ranchers transition to clean energy and find new and better markets for their products. And it will give people in remote areas access to modern water and wastewater systems, and quality education and health care services.
- In North Carolina, Carolina Poultry Power Rg2 LLC will use a $25 million Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loan to buy and install a facility to help convert poultry litter waste into energy. The system is estimated to produce more than 184 million kilowatt-hours per year, which is enough electricity to power more than 16,000 homes.
- In Mississippi, the Delta Regional Authority will use a $1.4 million Delta Health Care Services Grant to provide technical assistance to improve health care access and services for people in counties that have had high poverty rates for decades.
- In Arizona, the Local First Arizona Foundation will use a $136,610 Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant to develop strategic plans for the communities of Duncan, Springerville, Hayden, and the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Bylas. The plans will focus on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring equitable access to community programming and benefits, and reducing the impacts of climate change and pollution.
Background: Rural Partners Network
Launched in April 2022 and expanded in November 2022, the Rural Partners Network is now active in 36 community networks in 10 states and Puerto Rico.
Community networks receive on-the-ground support from full-time federal staff who live and work locally. These staff members provide technical assistance based on each community’s needs, helping them navigate federal programs, build relationships and prepare successful applications for funding.
RPN 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 shares 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 community networks.
For more information on RPN, visit 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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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.