U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s first-year accomplishments to help create better market opportunities for rural businesses, their suppliers and their customers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic upended the lives and livelihoods of millions of rural American people,” Torres Small said. “In the face of this challenge, I am proud of what USDA has accomplished under this Administration’s leadership to minimize damage and be there for rural America as we all Build Back Better and stronger.”
USDA Rural Development has taken several steps to help improve rural economies and to support the businesses, workers, residents and communities that rely on them:
- USDA has significantly expanded investments in rural broadband during the Biden-Harris administration’s first 12 months. The Department invested $336 million to finance broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved rural areas during Fiscal Year 2021. It is also currently accepting applications for $1.15 billion in broadband loans, grants and loan/grant combinations. USDA is making available up to $200 million in ReConnect Program loans, up to $250 million in loan/grant combinations, up to $350 million in grants with a 25% matching requirement, and up to $350 million in grants with no matching requirement for projects in tribal and socially vulnerable communities. Visit https://www.usda.gov/reconnect for details on how to apply.
- In December, USDA launched a program to make more than $1 billion in loan guarantees available to help businesses in the food supply chain process their products and get them to market. The new Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program will help meat and poultry processors and other food businesses that are active in the middle of the food supply chain: manufacturing, storage, transportation and distribution.
- Also last month, USDA Rural Development announced new investments to increase significantly the sales and use of higher blends of bioethanol and biodiesel through expansion of the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. USDA plans to announce the application window for $100 million in grants in the coming months.
- In addition, USDA has made $700 million available through the Biofuel Producer Program to provide direct payments to producers who experienced market losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline to apply for this assistance is Feb. 11, 2022.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Under the Biden-Harris administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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