Here’s How this Investment is Helping New Jersey’s Residents, Businesses, and Communities
MOUNT LAUREL, NJ Feb. 8, 2023- Reacting to the 2023 State of the Union address, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development New Jersey State Director Jane Asselta celebrated the Biden-Harris Administration’s actions in delivering on its promises by highlighting significant investments and benefits that USDA Rural Development is having here in New Jersey.
USDA Rural Development State Director Jane Asselta said, “We’ve had two years of the Biden-Harris Administration showing up for us - putting our tax dollars to work in ways that truly grow our economy from the ground up and the middle out. From supporting our Jersey farmers and small rural businesses with access to capital and to grants and loans to save on their energy costs, to ensuring critical water and sewer systems infrastructure investments, to expanding critical services for healthcare and food security, USDA Rural Development is honored to ‘walk the talk’ here at home.” She added, “Our hardworking team at New Jersey Rural Development is made up of your neighbors, who ensure the taxpayers funds returned to New Jersey are invested in the success of our rural communities.”
Here is a look at USDA Rural Development’s actions in fiscal year 2022 to strengthen and empower economic growth and prosperity in New Jersey’s rural communities, minimize impacts of climate change, create good-paying jobs for New Jersey workers, and invest in our families.
Increasing Access to Opportunities in Rural America: USDA Rural Development invested in New Jersey’s rural communities through providing quality affordable housing. As a result, rural Americans are better able to live, raise families, and thrive in the communities they love. Through these investments, USDA is amplifying President Biden’s promise to grow the economy and create good-paying jobs. In Fiscal Year 2022, USDA Rural Development in New Jersey helped:
- 334 rural New Jersey families or individuals to obtain the American Dream of homeownership, investing over $71,000,000 and creating generational wealth and stability.
- 8 families who received a COVID-19 payment moratorium, refinance their USDA loan to ensure their payments stay affordable – ahead of the September 30, 2023 funding deadline.
- 27 New Jersey families to make essential repairs or weatherization to improve their homes.
- Approximately 1,718 families or individuals living in multi-family properties to pay their rent, totaling $10,878,256 in rental assistance to ensure everyone has a safe and affordable place to live.
Expanding Equity in Rural Communities: USDA Rural Development is committed to the values of equity and inclusion, ensuring rural New Jerseyans, regardless of how rural their community, have access to critical community infrastructure.
- 16 community facilities received $3,683,300 through the Community Facilities Programs to help provide essential services to 462,675 rural people in New Jersey.
- 8 of these community facilities are rural healthcare clinics, hospitals, and non-profit organizations, receiving a total of $2,512,000 to help provide quality healthcare in New Jersey’s rural communities.
One landmark example of this initiative to ensure equitable access to services, is the recent Emergency Rural Health Care Grant investments of $999,500 to Zufall Health Center Inc. The grants, announced in August and October, are assisting the Zufall Health Center Inc., a nonprofit health center providing care for nearly 41,000 uninsured and underinsured patients, to purchase equipment and expand their pharmacy services and call center. The Zufall Health Center will increase the number of clinical and dispensing pharmacists, and drivers to deliver medications and COVID-19 vaccines as well as hire additional call center representatives and triage nurses to handle the increased call volume. The Rural Development funding will support the Zufall Health Center mission of providing high-quality, affordable, compassionate medical, dental and behavioral care to patients in Morris, Sussex, Hunterdon, and Warren counties.
Implementing Climate-Smart Solutions: Climate change is happening, and America’s rural communities are on the frontlines. USDA is leading the way through climate-smart solutions that will improve the profitability and resilience of agricultural producers and rural small businesses, open new market opportunities, and build wealth that stays in rural communities for generations to come. For instance, USDA Rural Development provided:
- 6 water and wastewater systems with a total of $15,703,000 in funding for critical upgrades that help provide clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal and, as in the case of the Borough of Brooklawn, use a $1,000,000 grant to address well water contamination caused by forever chemicals such as per fluorinated compounds (PFCs).
- 5 New Jersey businesses or agricultural producers with Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for a total of $481,465 invested in expanding renewable energy systems and support energy-efficiency projects for people in rural New Jersey.
- Invested $340,000 in grants under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program for 2 fueling stations to create the infrastructure needed to expand the sales and use of renewable fuels.
Investing in New Jersey Food Systems: USDA is transforming the nation’s food system through a more equitable, diverse, and resilient meat and poultry supply chain. These actions touch all parts of the food supply chain – from food production, food processing, food aggregation, and distribution to consumers. For instance, USDA Rural Development in New Jersey invested in:
- Three agribusinesses received Value-Added Producer Grants for a total of $750,000 to assist with marketing or planning activities for producing local foods and value-added agricultural products.
- A fourth-generation, family-owned and operated business, Goffle Road Poultry, with a $4.2 million investment through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program to purchase state-of-the art equipment associated with expanding its existing USDA processing facility and retail operation.
USDA Rural Development funds projects in New Jersey under the leadership of its State Office staff located in Mt. Laurel and supported by offices located in Hackettstown, Columbus, and Vineland. If you’d like to subscribe to New Jersey USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page or follow us on Twitter.
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 Rural Development (usda.gov).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.