Agriculture Under Secretary Announces Funding to Support Health Care Needs in the Delta Region

Jay Fletcher
District of Columbia
Release Date
Oct 27, 2013

Acting Agriculture Under Secretary Doug O’Brien today announced funding for three projects in rural Alabama, Louisiana and Missouri to meet the health care needs of residents living in the Mississippi Delta region. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

“These grants will help Delta residents get access to health care and related services,” O’Brien said. “Through these grants, the Obama Administration and USDA are partnering with state and local organizations to address the health care needs and challenges that are unique to this part of the country.”

The grants being announced today are made available through USDA Rural Development’s Delta Health Care Services Grant Program, which was established through the 2008 Farm Bill. The program is a collaborative effort among health care professionals, institutions of higher education, research institutions and other entities.

Earlier today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Jackson, Miss., and announced new investments to support producers and rural communities throughout Mississippi, among them, three Delta Health Care Services Grants.

USDA has several programs and initiatives to create jobs and stimulate investment in rural areas. The Department’s recently expanded StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative, for example, provides technical assistance and financial resources in high-poverty areas. Through StrikeForce, USDA Rural Development employees partner with local leaders to ensure that low-income communities are taking advantage of all possible USDA resources and funding opportunities.

The following is a list of recipients that have been selected to receive Delta Health Care grants. The funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.


  • Tombigbee Healthcare Authority – $900,000 grant. Funds will be used to train nursing students who will support “Health Care on Wheels,” a mobile unit that provides health care services, health literacy and education, telemedicine services and community outreach.


  • Southeastern Louisiana University – $351,989 grant. Funds will be used to create a program to provide holistic patient care through community health education and continuing education to staff at the North Oaks clinic.


  • South Central Ozark Council of Governments – $186,143 grant. Funds will be used to provide health assessments, improve health education and training, and conduct wellness follow-ups.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA has supported 10 projects with almost $6 million through the Delta Health Care Services Grant program in addition to these announced today. O’Brien noted that today’s funding announcement is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy – and he said that’s just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the Department implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.

USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.