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200 USDA-Funded Projects Create Economic Opportunity in Underserved Rural and Native American Communities

RD Press
Washington DC
Release Date

WINTERHAVEN, Calif., Dec. 11, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Farah Ahmad today announced more than 200 projects to improve infrastructure, housing and economic conditions for underserved rural and Native American communities. These projects are funded by an $80.1 million investment from USDA.

The investments are part of President Biden’s commitment to advance equity for all, including those who have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are making record investments in rural America to ensure everyone in this country has a path to success,” Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad said. “The investments we’re making today will have lasting economic and social benefits that will allow current and future generations to make a good life right at home in their rural communities.”

USDA is making investments in several programs specifically designed to bring federal funding and resources to people and communities in underserved rural areas. The projects will benefit hundreds of thousands of people in 42 states, Puerto Rico and the Marshall Islands.

For example:

  • In southern California, the Winterhaven County Water District is receiving a $1.5 million grant through the Water and Waste Facility Loans and Grants to Alleviate Health Risks for Colonias The district will use the funding to build a new groundwater well that will provide clean drinking water for the entire community and ensure their office building is safe and accessible for all. Winterhaven is a colonia, an economically distressed neighborhood or community within 150 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. The community previously received a Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) Grant from USDA that helped them plan and design this project.
  • In Arizona, the Tohono O’odham Community College will provide solar power and help offset costs for the new Language Center Building on the main campus with a $351,000 Tribal College Initiative Grant.
  • In New York, Chenango County is receiving a $200,000 Appalachian Regional Commission Grant to help renovate an outdated jet hangar and administration building at the Lt. Warren E. Eaton Airport in Norwich. The improvements will lead to increased air traffic volume, ensure the airport’s long-term sustainability and create new economic opportunities for several businesses.

The investments also include more than $19 million to help low-income and very low-income residents in every part of the country repair and rehabilitate their homes.

In addition to Arizona, California and New York, the awards announced today will help finance projects in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the Marshall Islands/Micronesia.

Investments are being made through these programs: Water and Waste Facility Loans and Grants to Alleviate Health Risks for Colonias, Water and Waste Facility Loans and Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands, Delta Health Care Grants, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Rural and Native Alaskan Village Grants, Tribal College Initiative Grants and Appalachian Regional Commission Grants, which USDA administers as part of a Memorandum of Understanding.

New Web Resources for Rural Communities

USDA Rural Development today also unveiled two new web resources that underscore the agency’s mission to ensure all people have equitable access to federal programs.

A new history webpage traces USDA Rural Development’s evolution from the Great Depression and New Deal to the present, highlighting the many ways the agency supports efforts to create prosperity in rural communities.

One of the agency’s more recent initiatives, the Rural Partners Network (RPN), has brought together a coalition of 24 federal agencies that offer programs and funding designed specifically for rural communities.

A new feature on Rural.gov makes it easier to find these federal resources in one place. The Find Programs and Opportunities tool includes hundreds of millions of dollars in financing and technical assistance opportunities that are easy to search, filter and find.

The information will help people in rural areas access funding for a variety of business, health care, housing, community and economic development needs.

Under the leadership of 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.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the leadership of 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. To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.