Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Patrice Kunesh today joined Congressman Raul Ruiz and Rural Development California State Director Glenda Humiston on a tour of the Coachella Valley that culminated with Earth Day celebrations at Mountain View Estates. In 2011, USDA invested over $6 million to help connect the mobile home park to public water and sewer systems.
"Earth Day is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the differences USDA's programs can make to protect the environment and safeguard natural resources," said Kunesh. "I am excited to be at Mountain View Estates today to showcase one such example, and to plant a tree here marking this occasion."
Prior to the Earth Day celebrations, officials visited two new farm labor housing apartments financed by USDA and toured three other sites with housing and infrastructure needs. After witnessing the challenges and opportunities first hand, Kunesh joined a dozen local stakeholders and partners to discuss need in the Coachella Valley.
"Working together with the many dedicated partners in the Coachella Valley, USDA Rural Development's programs are helping to improve living conditions in the region," said Humiston. "Whether we are helping families build their own homes, developing decent housing for area farmworkers, supporting important community facilities, or investing in water and sewer systems, USDA Rural Development is committed to improving the quality of life for the residents of the Coachella Valley."
Elsewhere today, USDA announced nearly $387 million to fund 116 water and wastewater projects throughout the nation, including two in California. The announcement is USDA’s largest Earth Day investment in rural water and wastewater systems. This record level is achieved through $150 million in grants provided by the 2014 Farm Bill in addition to $237 million in loans and grants from USDA's Water and Environmental program.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.