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USDA Highlights Fiscal Year 2021 Accomplishments in Rural Minnesota

Name
Nikki Gillespie
City
ST. PAUL
Release Date
Mar 10, 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn., March 10, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Colleen Landkamer today highlighted 2021 accomplishments in helping rural Minnesota.

“Every year brings new challenges and new opportunities,” Landkamer said. “Last week, President Biden used his first State of the Union address to talk about where our country has been and where we are going. 2021 included challenges brought on by COVID-19, but despite these challenges and others, USDA Rural Development has continued to assist rural communities with improving essential infrastructure, increasing access to affordable housing and supporting small businesses. Under President Biden’s leadership, USDA also announced several programs to assist with food supply chain processing, energy efficiency and much more, which created new opportunities that we are excited to work on in 2022. We look forward to continuing to expand our partnerships and help rural America Build Back Better.”

USDA Rural Development invested nearly $792 million in Minnesota during Fiscal Year 2021, helping nearly 3,700 families, communities and businesses.

The projects will help create better market opportunities for rural businesses, their suppliers and their customers; combat climate change and increase resiliency throughout rural America; and ensure that rural residents and businesses have equitable access to housing, health care, economic development and other essential services.

Examples of investments include:

  • Through the Single-Family Housing programs, Minnesota Rural Development helps approximately 2,620 individuals and families find safe, affordable housing or make safety modernizations to remain in their current homes. In 2021, these investments amounted to more than $467.5 million.  
      
  • Multi-Family Housing Programs support safe, affordable rental housing for rural residents across the state, investing a total of $29.6 million. For example, more than 370 individuals and families received rental assistance to ensure affordability.
     
  • The Community Facilities programs supported 79 projects to provide buildings, vehicles and other crucial support to rural communities for a total investment of $59 million. For example, Prairie Pines Childcare Center received $75,000 to help establish a childcare facility in Fosston, Minn. This investment will specifically be able to renovate a former veterinary clinic to incorporate an infant room, toddler room and preschool room. Additional spaces will be created for reception, staff offices, great hall, kitchen, laundry and multiple bathrooms. The basement will be renovated to provide after-school and summer care for school-age children.  
     
  • Minnesota Rural Development invested nearly $68 million through Water and Environmental Programs to assist 36 rural communities with access to safe, clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal. For example, the city of Rushmore received a $2.2 million loan and a $749,000 grant to address health and sanitary concerns caused by poor water treatment resulting in poor water quality for the city’s 342 residents. This investment will allow the city to connect to nearby Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water system as a water source, build a new water tower and modify the distribution system.
     
  • More than 22,000 people will benefit from the $236,200 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant to expand access to new services at primary clinic sites and expand telehealth services in underserved or remote rural areas. Additionally, Consolidated Telephone Company received a $2.3 million Community Connect Grant to provide 1,102 residents and 20 businesses with up to 1 Gigabits per second (Gbps) of broadband speed by constructing a 67 mile fiber-to-the-premises system. This will expand access to economic, educational, healthcare, and public safety opportunities to underserved areas.
     
  • USDA invested in nearly 140 rural businesses, ag producers and entrepreneurs to aid them in recovering from the effects of the COVID pandemic and help continue to create economic opportunities, like new jobs and value-added products, in rural communities.  For example, Minnesota’s food supply chain continues to thrive through investments like the $250,000 Value-Added Producer Grant that Fresha LLC received to expand marketing and production opportunities for locally grown carrots and other goods in Morris, Minn.

USDA has taken several extra steps to expand the communities and populations it can reach, including:

  • USDA recently unveiled a resource guide that features information on how rural entrepreneurs can use USDA and other Federal programs to access financing and other assistance to help start and expand their businesses. It includes tools to help them:
     
    • expand their access to capital to create small business incubators.
       
    • create value-added agricultural products.
       
    • access high-speed internet to connect their businesses to national and global markets.
       
    • cut energy costs.
       
    • access health care resources to enhance the quality of life for their employees.
       
    • access workforce development and training opportunities to improve their skills, products and services, and more.
       
  • Providing up to $150 million available in grants to fund startup and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector. Funding is being made available through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program.
     
  • 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 in December, 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.
     
  • USDA began offering priority points to projects that advance key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, advance equity and combat climate change. These extra points will increase the likelihood of funding for projects seeking to address these critical challenges in rural America.
     
  • Unveiling a Disaster Resource Guide detailing assistance available to rural people, businesses and communities impacted by disaster and support for long-term planning and recovery efforts.

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/mn.

If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

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