WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2018 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA invested in nearly 400 projects to provide essential services for more than 7 million people in rural areas across the country in Fiscal Year 2017.
“Partnering with our small towns and cities to support essential services that rural residents need is one way USDA is facilitating prosperity in rural America,” Perdue said. “USDA’s investments will help communities significantly improve their schools, hospitals and public safety facilities, and improve the quality of life.”
USDA infused $1.5 billion into rural areas in 2017 through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program for projects such as schools, libraries, municipal centers, first responder vehicles and equipment, social service buildings, recreational activities and other community needs. These investments are helping nearly 7 million rural residents. In Pennsylvania alone, a total of over $140 million in Community Facility funding benefitted 423,034 rural residents in the state.
Below are some examples of projects USDA helped finance in Pennsylvania:
- Community Action Realty in Williamsport, Pa., received a $775,000 loan to acquire a building for Head Start classrooms for residents of Lycoming and Clinton counties. The larger space will allow for continuous oversight and coaching, increase safety for the children, and improve service delivery. Many of the services are offered by the Lycoming-Clinton Counties Commission for Community Action STEP, Inc.
The Knox Area Volunteer Ambulance Company in Knox, Pa. received a loan of $32,600 and a grant of $38,400 for the purchase of a 2017 Ford Ambulance, which also included the cost for a graphics package. An applicant contribution of $39,309 put the total project cost at $110,309.
The Shenandoah Valley School District in Shenandoah, Pa. received a $44,300 loan for the purchase of a 2017 Transit fitted for wheelchair accessibility, as well as a 2017 Ford F-350 truck plow package for the school. An Economic Impact Initiative Grant for $50,000 and an applicant contribution of $1,824 put the full project cost at $96,124.
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, which included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. 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. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic.
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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.