Latest Investments RPN’s One Year Anniversary in the Tar Heel State
RALEIGH, North Carolina, Nov. 1, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight announced USDA is partnering with rural and Tribal communities on 15 projects to create jobs and drive economic change in historically underserved areas in North Carolina.
USDA is providing loans and grants to finance projects across the Rural Partners Network (RPN). The network helps rural communities access funding to address immediate needs and carry out large-scale plans for economic growth and stability.
“I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Rural Partners Network in North Carolina,” said Speight. “These 15 projects show how RPN helps people and organizations navigate federal programs, build relationships and partnerships. Not only is RPN helping to address specific needs in communities in 14 North Carolina counties, but we’re making sure rural voices are heard and reflected in national policies that will benefit all people in rural communities.”
The projects will benefit small towns and cities, Native American communities, family farms and small businesses. They will create jobs and build infrastructure as well as increase access to quality health care, affordable housing, and clean water and energy.
In North Carolina:
- In Bladen County, Bladen's Bloomin' Agri-Industrial Inc. will use a $300 thousand USDA Rural Business Development Grant to fund a female owned healthcare project and assist Veteran owned business in the field of aviation with a focus on training minorities for aviation careers.
- In Columbus County, Barnesteed Family will use a $26 thousand USDA Rural Energy for America Program Grant to purchase and install a 22.8 kilo-watt solar array This project will generate 31 thousand kWh per year and realize $2,484 of saving per year.
- In Brunswick County, Brunswick EMC will use a $70 million USDA Electric Infrastructure Loan to connect 15 thousand consumers and build and improve 319 miles of line.
- In Columbus County, Hubble Solar will use a $2.4 million USDA Rural Energy for America Program Loan and $975 thousand Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 2.8 mega-watt solar system. The system is estimated to produce 4.8 million kilowatt-hours in year one, which is enough electricity to power 440 homes.
- In Columbus County, Williams Twp. Community Volunteer Fire Department will use $100 thousand in USDA Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants to purchase a brush truck and equipment for the Williams Township Community Fire Department.
- In Edgecombe County, Edgecombe Water and Sewer District No. 6 will use a $2.3 million USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loan to provide additional financing for improvements to the Edgecombe Water and Sewer District System in the town of Princeville. The district provides service to 535 residential and 15 commercial water customers plus to 515 residential and 15 commercial sewer customers.
- In Edgecombe County, Edgecombe-Martin County EMC will use a $300 thousand USDA Rural Economic Development Grant to provide funding to the town of Nashville, to assist in the construction of a fire station. The new station will provide quicker service for the southeastern portion of the fire district and a facility for a new ladder truck.
- In Edgecombe County, Murdock Webbing Company will use a $682 thousand USDA Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant to purchase and install a 507.4-kilowatt solar system. The new solar system is projected to produce 744 thousand kilowatt hours of electricity per year, 65 percent of the electricity use for the business operation.
- In Edgecombe County, Speed Volunteer Fire Department will use $556 in USDA Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants to purchase a custom-built fire engine.
- In Johnston County, Mark Godwin will use a $94 thousand USDA Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant to purchase and install a 99-kilowatt solar array. The system will replace 145 thousand kilowatt hours per year. This project will save enough electricity to power 13 homes.
- In Johnston County, Southeastern Growers Association will use a $250 thousand USDA Value-Added Producer Grant to enter new retail markets requiring a local food designation. This is a new emerging market for the SGA. The grant will allow for updates to website and digital media, and launch expenses to introduce the new products to purchase agent and buyers.
- In Nash County, the town to Nashville use a $1.3 million USDA Community Facilities Grant to construct a fire station. The new facility will consist of approximately 9,500 square feet and will be constructed on a 4.5-acre site on the east side of town, providing expanded services to citizens, businesses, and surrounding communities. The construction of the new facility will greatly improve response times to the growing areas of Nashville.
- In Nash County, the town of Sharpsburg will use a $4.8 thousand USDA Community Facilities Grant to assist in the purchase two public works vehicles.
- In Robeson County, T&H Farms will use a $782 thousand USDA Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grant to purchase and install an 889.3-kilowatt solar array. The solar system will replace 1 million kilowatt hours per year. This project will save enough electricity to power 101 homes.
- In Randolph County, Glow House Society will use a $47 thousand USDA Rural Business Development Grant to fund a feasibility study for the county. The feasibility study will examine how to increase agribusiness development plus identify overall economic development opportunities for the county.
Nationwide, the funding announced today will support 99 projects in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico. Some projects will help people in Alabama, Florida and Tennessee who live near RPN communities.
Today’s announcement includes $2 billion in awards from approximately 30 USDA programs.
New One-Stop Shop for Rural Communities
The Biden-Harris Administration launched RPN in April 2022 as a pilot program in five states. A year ago today, the network added community networks in five additional states and Puerto Rico.
Since the program’s inception, USDA has provided nearly $3 billion for a variety of projects in RPN communities. It also has brought together a coalition of more than 24 other federal agencies that offer programs and funding designed specifically for rural communities.
As part of today’s announcement, RPN is piloting a new feature on Rural.gov that makes it easier to find these federal resources in one place. The tool combines programs and opportunities across RPN’s partner agencies, all of which are working to ensure an all-of-government approach to help people build thriving rural communities.
The Find Programs and Opportunities feature 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.
To explore these opportunities and learn more about 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.