RATON, New Mexico, April 20, 2022 –U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small today announced a new whole-of-government effort led by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to transform the way federal agencies partner with rural places to create economic opportunity in rural America. The USDA-led Rural Partners Network (RPN) is an all-of-government program that will help rural communities access government resources and funding to create jobs, build infrastructure and support long-term economic stability.
Today’s announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour, during which Biden Administration officials are traveling to dozens of rural communities to talk about the impact of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, as well as President Biden’s broader commitment to ensure federal resources reach all communities in rural America.
“I know I’m in a rural community when I’m in a room filled with people who care deeply about the future of their town, where everyone in that room wears many hats and carries a lot of responsibility for their town, but no one is a grant writer.” Torres Small said. “Through the Rural Partners Network, and because of the strong leadership of Congresswoman Leger Fernandez, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring these communities have the specific and in-person support they need to access resources to create jobs, build infrastructure and support long-term economic opportunity.”
USDA has selected the following community networks in New Mexico for the Rural Partners Network: Southwest New Mexico Council of Government Community Network including the counties of Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Luna; Northern New Mexico Pathways Economic Development District Community Network including the counties of Mora, San Miguel, Colfax and Taos; and Mesilla Valley Community Network including the county of Doña Ana.
Background: Rural Partners Network
The Rural Partners Network is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between federal agencies and local leaders and residents. This Network is focused on improving social and economic well-being bolstered by existing local partnerships and assets. The Network will launch in selected communities in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico as well as certain Tribes within Arizona. Community networks within these states will receive individualized support with the expertise to navigate federal programs, build relationships and identify additional resources to promote community-driven solutions.
Each community network will be supported by a Rural Partners Network team to help address that community’s specific needs and concerns, building on local assets. Network staff will also be responsible for sharing lessons learned from selected communities with federal agencies in D.C. to ensure rural communities have a voice in policymaking. Policy development will occur through regular convenings of the Rural Prosperity Interagency Policy Council, co-led by USDA and the Domestic Policy Council. There are 16 federal agencies and regional commissions participating in the Council. Members of Congress across the political spectrum have called for this whole-of-government approach, including U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto, Joni Ernst, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Grassley, and Mark Kelly, and U.S. Representatives Angie Craig, Dan Newhouse, Cindy Axne, Adrian Smith, Tom O’Halleran, and Randy Feenstra. To deliver on the promise to make federal resources more readily available to underserved communities across rural America, the Biden-Harris Administration will expand the Rural Partners Network to additional places later in fiscal year 2022. Those states, Tribes and territories include Nevada, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Native Alaskan communities.
Information about the Rural Partners Network is available online at Rural.gov.
Background: Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour
Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA and its federal partners in the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force are working with rural communities to deliver on the promise of support for rural America.
The Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour is a multi-faceted outreach effort involving cabinet and sub-cabinet officials across federal agencies as they travel to and learn from key rural communities. These visits will highlight new federal funding and investments already underway through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a once-in-a-generation investment that will support rural communities and their infrastructure needs.
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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