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Eight Ways USDA Rural Development is Making Holidays Merry and Bright

Barbara Bowen
Release Date

Investments of $1.7 Billion in Communities Across the Commonwealth in 2022

RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 20, 2022 – In this season of giving, community is especially important to us all. Small towns and cities across the commonwealth can take comfort in knowing that USDA Rural Development is on the job year-round to support the health and prosperity of the families and businesses that help strengthen those bonds.

“This year, your Virginia team led the nation in funding state economic development, increasing homeownership opportunities and financing infrastructure improvements,” said Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “This $1.77 billion investment supports projects that touch every aspect of rural life and will help provide a wide range of services to help strengthen rural communities across the commonwealth.”

The full scope of over 50 RD programs is too extensive to list here, so we took a page from Santa’s book and selected one fiscal year 2022 accomplishment for each reindeer. Every item below represents a partnership effort to elevate rural quality of life in Virginia:

  1. Lifting Up Low Income Localities. Provided 57 loans/grants to communities in need with 14 awarded in persistent poverty counties. Also funded two Technical Assistance and Training grants that will support local efforts to identify and plan for future facility needs.
  2. Expanding the Availability of Medical Services. Obligated nine Emergency Rural Health Care grants valued at more than $6 million to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, health care services and food assistance through food banks and distribution facilities.
  3. Improving Water and Sanitation Systems. Invested more than $16 million grants for nine water and sewer projects through our Water and Environmental Programs, which are available to small communities (populations of 10,000 or less). These systems are not only vital to public health but also support stronger local economies. Learn more about the Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants.
  4. Enhancing Community Services. Supplied $40.5 million in funding for essential facilities and services to include loans and grants for a $16 million dormitory renovation at Ferrum College and fire and police equipment purchases in 23 communities. Many of these awards were made in persistent poverty counties. Learn more about Community Facilities Programs.
  5. Connecting Rural Communities. Provided $5 million in funding through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Guarantees program to install more than 100 miles of fiber optic plant to enhance services and increase broadband speeds for 1,833 Pembroke Telephone Cooperative subscribers in Giles County. 
  6. Stimulating Business Creation and Growth. Offered $35 million in capital to help expand market opportunities for agricultural producers and businesses. Target areas included grants for developing and marketing value-added products and loan guarantees for eligible rural businesses.
  7. Powering Sustainable Rural Communities. Invested $10.8 million through the Rural Energy for America Program for 14 projects to install solar arrays that will lower operating costs for small businesses and support production of renewable energy.
  8. Providing a Home for the Holidays. Obligated approximately $650 million in grants and guaranteed and direct loans to help more than 3,100 moderate, low- and very-low-income families buy decent, safe and sanitary housing. Also invested $52 million in projects to develop and rehabilitate properties that will provide affordable multi-family rental housing for low-income, elderly and disabled individuals and families.

In FY 2023, the Virginia RD team stands ready to deliver a full suite of programs and funding opportunities to support rural families, businesses and agricultural producers. We encourage applications for federal financial assistance that can support economic development and infrastructure improvements in the commonwealth.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under 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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.​​​​​