The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $295 million in 116 projects that will provide essential services for 1.9 million rural residents in 36 states with $2.6 million of that total coming to Louisiana.
"USDA Rural Development is funding new infrastructure and infrastructure expansion projects to help modernize and build essential public services such as rural schools, medical clinics, libraries, and much more," said Louisiana Rural Development State Director Dr. Carrie Castille. "We are committed to long-term targeted investment in rural infrastructure that will ultimately result in more jobs, access to capital, and a better quality of life for rural communities throughout our state."
USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. In Louisiana, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury received a $2.6 million loan to expand the parish detention center. An intake facility and a 96-bed trustee dormitory will be added to the existing facility. This project will save the Lincoln Parish Police Jury the cost of transporting and housing detainees on offsite locations to ease public safety concerns.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. In year’s past, loan amounts have ranged anywhere from $10,000 to $165 million.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill increased the budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.