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Biden-Harris Administration Launches Network of Partners to Tap Resources for Rural America, First Selection Includes Three Tribes in Arizona

Name
Jamie Welch Jaro
Phone
City
Phoenix
Release Date
Apr 20, 2022

PHOENIX, April 20, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice today announced a new whole-of-government effort led by 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. In Arizona, three Tribes have been selected to participate.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA and its federal partners are committed to unlocking the full potential of rural America by investing in its people and the unique visions they have for the places they call home,” Vilsack said. “Rural America is incredibly diverse – economically, racially, culturally and geographically. What makes sense for one community may not for another. The Rural Partners Network will help communities get funding for investments that create long-lasting benefits for their communities, especially those that have been overlooked in the past. By providing one-on-one support to these communities, we can lay the foundation for people to build healthy, successful futures on their own terms.”

Vilsack added, “We are also grateful for our Congressional partners like Congressman Bennie Thompson, Senator Cortez Masto and Senator Kelly who work tirelessly to ensure that all communities have access to federal funding, and that we are coordinating these resources across the federal government.”

“Here in Arizona we are looking forward to providing real, responsive, tailor-made support for our participating communities,” said Charlene Fernandez, USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director. “Each selected Tribe knows their own local assets and areas of need and with this new Network comes a new level of partnership to build out the future. Good things are about to happen.”

In Arizona, USDA has selected San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tohono O'odham Nation, and Cocopah Indian Tribe as participating community networks for the Rural Partners Network. In addition to these Tribes, the Network will launch in selected communities in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and New Mexico. 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.