USDA Helped Improve Essential Services in Rural Georgia in 2017: Funding Supports Schools, First Responder Vehicles and Equipment, Public Works, and Other Community Needs

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Georgia State Director for USDA Rural Development Joyce White today announced USDA investments in projects to provide essential services for nearly 300,000 people in rural areas across Georgia in Fiscal Year 2017.

   “Community Facilities investments by USDA are investments in rural prosperity,” White said. “Improving schools, public safety facilities and public works departments in communities improves the quality of life; we’re committed to the future of rural communities.”

   Nationwide, USDA infused $1.5 billion into rural areas in 2017 through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program helping nearly 7 million rural residents overall.  Of the total investment announced today, $97 million was for projects such as school construction and improvements; fire, rescue and public safety equipment and vehicles; and public works vehicles in Georgia.

     Projects in Georgia supported by USDA announced today are in Bartow, Berrien, Chattooga, Cherokee, Coffee, Crawford, Early, Greene, Lanier, Meriwether, Screven, Stewart, Toombs and Walker counties.

Below are some examples of these projects USDA helped finance:

  • Lake Oconee Academy Foundation, Inc. received a $18,088,544 loan for construction of a High School and Student Life Center. This school expansion project features two new buildings that will include seventeen classrooms with two science labs, and a student life center with a cafeteria and a gymnasium. Lake Oconee Academy enrolled approximately 815 students in 2016-17.
  • The City of Blakely in Early County received a $3,397,000 loan to construct a new public safety facility that will house the fire station, EMS facility and government services offices at the site of the existing fire station which will be demolished.
  • The Berrien County Board of Commissioners received $112,800 loan towards the purchase of an ambulance for the Berrien County EMS Department.
  • The City of Summerville in Chattooga County received loans totaling $101,800 to enhance the service delivery of its Public Works Department with the addition of vehicles and equipment.

   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

Last Modified: 01/25/2018