Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $17.4 million in 41 projects that will provide essential services for rural communities in 22 states. This funding includes $2.1 million to help two projects in the Iowa communities of Storm Lake, Maquoketa, Andrew and Preston.
“Rural America represents a wealth of opportunity– from farms to tourism, forestry, mining and manufacturing,” Hazlett said. “At USDA, our mission is to be a catalyst to bring those opportunities to life – whether building infrastructure, helping communities to attract jobs, accessing additional capital, or improving the quality of life in these towns.”
USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural areas purchase, construct or improve essential facilities. An essential community facility is one that provides a necessary service for the orderly development or operation of a rural community, such as schools, libraries, health care facilities, day care centers and infrastructure improvements.
The projects in Iowa include:
- United Community Health Center, Inc. in Storm Lake, Iowa, is receiving a $1.9 million loan to renovate and expand a health center serving approximately 4,000 people. The current facility lacks adequate exam rooms and sufficient space for the staff to operate at peak efficiency. The expanded number of exam rooms will improve the flow of business by allowing the staff to clean rooms and collect patient information prior to the physician’s consultation. United Community Health Center has also increased its behavioral health services and needs additional treatment space, especially for patients who misuse opioids or other substances.
- Imagine the Possibilities, Inc.in Maquoketa, Iowa, is receiving a $167,000 loan and $39,200 grant to help purchase vans for staff to transport individuals with intellectual disabilities to various appointments and activities. These vehicles, which will be used in the communities of Maquoketa, Andrew and Preston, will replace existing vans that have high mileage and are becoming unreliable.
The projects that are being announced today will help improve the quality of life for more than 220,000 rural residents in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for USDA Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill increased the budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.
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. 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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.
Contact USDA Rural Development
Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/ia or by calling (515) 284-4663.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.