March 18, 2019 – Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $91 million to build or improve community facilities and essential services for nearly 300,000 rural residents in 12 states. Tennessee Rural Development State Director Jim Tracy is pleased to announce that in Tennessee, funding will benefit a utility district in Weakley County.
“Supporting agricultural business is vital to the mission of USDA,” Tracy said. “Today’s announcement is a precise illustration of how this is achieved.”
USDA is funding 16 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural small towns, cities and communities make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as public schools, libraries, courthouses, public safety facilities, hospitals, colleges and day care centers. In Tennessee:
The West Tennessee Public Utility District received an investment of $8.2 million which will used to install 44 miles of gas pipeline in rural northern Weakley County. There are 102 agricultural chicken houses and 200 residential properties along the proposed expansion route. Several larger chicken houses are under construction, and dozens more are planned within the project area in the next 12 months. This area's economy rests solely on agriculture in row crop and chicken farms.
In addition to Tennessee, the projects announced today are located in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.
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. Applicants and projects must be in 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 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/tn.