Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA is awarding grants to increase access to job training, educational and health care services in rural areas. In North Dakota, the Heartview Foundation will receive grant money to purchase and install telemedicine equipment at eight rural location across Burleigh, Towner, Mercer and Dunn Counties.
“Empowering rural Americans with access to services for quality of life and economic development is critical to rural prosperity,” Secretary Perdue said. “Distance learning and telemedicine technology bridges the gap that often exists between rural communities and essential education, workforce training and health care resources.”
“USDA grant funding will enable Heartview to provide distance counseling that is crucial to helping North Dakotans in these four rural counties,” Clare Carlson, North Dakota State Director said. “This resource ensures quality health care is available to individuals who may not have the ability to travel to a local provider.”
Heartview and its rural partners will implement a telemedicine system to deliver behavioral programs in rural North Dakota to address opioid misuse and other substance misuse issues. These programs will deliver counseling, education and training to patients and staff while reducing travel time and expense to remote locations serving a total population of 81,067 people.
USDA is awarding $37 million through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. More than 4.5 million residents in 40 states and three territories will benefit from the funding. Many of the projects announced today will help combat the opioid crisis and other substance misuse issues.
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 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.