State Director for Rural Development Joyce White today highlighted a host of accomplishments that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) achieved in 2018 to build prosperity in Georgia’s rural communities.
“USDA Rural Development Georgia has made major strides in our mission to create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for rural residents,” White said. “By partnering with rural communities and stakeholders, modernizing infrastructure and innovating to solve problems, USDA is assisting Georgia’s rural towns and cities with funding and resources to help build sustainable, prosperous futures.”
Here are a few highlights of USDA Rural Development’s accomplishments in Georgia during the 2018 fiscal year:
- Helped finance new or improved water and wastewater services for 14 communities serving nearly 57,000 rural residents.
- Invested in five health care facilities and equipment projects that serve 87,000 people in Jeff Davis, Murray, Talbot, Madison and Habersham counties. Notably, this year we also celebrated the completion of construction of the Morgan Medical Center critical access hospital in Madison Georgia which was funded last fiscal year. The grand opening celebration was on December 9, 2018.
- Worked with rural communities by providing financing for 40 essential community facilities projects that fund the purchase of fire department equipment and vehicles, police vehicles, library resources and materials, medical facilities and equipment and other community facilities.
- Provided home loan financing for nearly 4,200 rural families to purchase, build or refinance a home.
- Helped finance eight distance learning and telemedicine projects to use e-Connectivity at hub and end-user sites to serve rural residents and workers.
- Provided financing through our Business & Industry Loan Guarantee program, Value Added Producer Grants, intermediary lending, and the Rural Energy for America programs to 60 rural businesses with working capital, refinancing, marketing assistance, energy efficiency upgrades and other business needs to create and save jobs.
- Supporting USDA’s memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Small Business Administration by co-hosting the Rural Strong business resources events with the Southeast Region of the U.S. Small Business Administration to make capital and business resources available to rural small businesses.
- Working continuously to strengthen partnerships with associations, foundations, lenders, and community and economic development commissions and organizations for rural prosperity.
- Coming alongside communities with resources and financial assistance to help combat the opioid misuse crisis.
- Participating with state and federal agencies, rural communities and elected officials to understand obstacles and provide financing to extend high speed internet to rural communities statewide.
- Preparing to implement a simplified and expedited application and loan approval processes for four guaranteed loan programs. This will increase the amount of capital available to rural communities. The programs are: (1) the Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program, (2) the Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantee Program, (3) the Community Facilities Loan Guarantee Program, and (4) Rural Energy for America Program loan guarantees.
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 the president. 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.