ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 19, 2020 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced that USDA is investing $24,000 for public safety equipment in the city of Lakefield.
“Modern, safe infrastructure is the bedrock of any community, especially when it helps protect emergency service providers,” Finstad said. “Whether it’s replacing expired fire protective gear for volunteer firefighters or purchasing a modern ambulance vehicle, all these things contribute to the economic prosperity of rural America. Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is dedicated to assisting rural communities like Lakefield with their long-term commitments to economic prosperity; because when rural America prospers, all of America prospers.”
The city of Lakefield will use a $24,000 Community Facilities Grant to replace expired turnout gear for the Lakefield Fire Department. The fire department has 23 active firefighters, and the existing equipment is 15 years old, which exceeds useful life according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards of ten years. The new gear will include coats, pants, helmets and boots. This project will help the department purchase new equipment to replace what is expired, helping to provide continued health and safety of the firefighters and their continued emergency services to the nearly 3,000 residents of Lakefield and several surrounding townships.
Funding for today’s announcement was made available through the $150 million in grants included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Trump signed into law on June 6, 2019. These grants are to help eligible rural communities continue their recovery from the devastating effects of natural disasters.
View the complete list of designated communities in Minnesota.
Grants may be used for relief in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence; wildfires in 2018; and other natural disasters where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided a notice declaring a Major Disaster Declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery (DR) number. Please check the FEMA website for regular updates and names of additional communities that may be added.
Grant applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Contact your local area office for further information or assistance with the application process. Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale; smaller communities with the lowest median household income are eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds. For application details and additional information, see page 47477 of the Sept. 10, 2019 Federal Register.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
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 cornerstone 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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.