Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah is in Great Falls, Montana this week and will meet with the congressional delegation to announce new Rural Development investments of more than $11.4 million in businesses and infrastructure and $19.8 in housing assistance in Montana, all in just the last 30 days.
“This is a prime example of what Rural Development can do in a short period of time in our rural communities. It’s because of the 2014 Farm Bill that Rural Development has the tools to work with and assist rural small businesses and communities in so many areas so quickly,” Mensah said. “These are critical investments that must be made if we are to ensure that rural Americans have access to the same quality of life and economic opportunities as anyone else.”
These are but a few examples of how USDA Rural Development’s recent investments are benefiting Montana:
- Two Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loans through Ireland Bank of Idaho to purchase grocery stores in Butte and Anaconda, Mont. Because of a merger between two national grocery store chains, the two stores were in danger of sale or closure. However, through the B&I program, Stokes Fresh Food Market was able to purchase both stores, saving 98 jobs and creating 4 new ones. The B&I program bolsters the existing private credit structure through the guaranteeing of loans for rural businesses, allowing private lenders to extend more credit than they would typically be able to.
- USDA provided $1.9 million in Water and Waste Disposal loan and grant assistance to Hysham, Montana, for a new water tank and other system improvements. Hysham’s 60- year-old water tank was close to catastrophic failure. With the financial help from USDA, the town is installing a new 300,000-gallon storage tank and new water mains to protect residents’ health and ensure that they have a sufficient water supply. The water and waste disposal program provides loans, grants and loan guarantees for drinking water, storm water drainage, sanitary sewage and solid waste disposal systems.
USDA Rural Development has provided more than $19.8 million to help rural Montana residents across the state purchase or repair their homes. USDA’s single-family housing program provides loans, loan guarantees and grants to buy, build, repair or own safe housing in rural areas
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.