USDA Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $3.1 million in three infrastructure projects to upgrade water and wastewater systems in rural communities of western Minnesota.
“Modern infrastructure is essential to the continued growth and prosperity of any community,” Finstad said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Perdue and Assistant Secretary Anne Hazlett, USDA has been working to strengthen its partnerships committed to addressing rural infrastructure needs and help support a more prosperous future in rural communities.”
Below are some examples of USDA’s partnerships in water infrastructure:
The city of Gary, Minn., will receive a $911,000 loan and $504,000 grant to help finance water infrastructure improvements and ensure that the community’s 214 residents have clean drinking water. The project will address health and safety concerns aligned with high levels of chemicals in the current water supply – lowering residential homeowners’ insurance premiums, ensure enough water and pressure for local fire safety services, and provide a back-up water supply during power outages.
The city of Saint Leo, Minn., will use a $440,000 loan and a $384,000 grant to improve its wastewater treatment facility, eliminating ongoing health and sanitary violations due to aging infrastructure. USDA’s investment will benefit 100 residential customers.
The city of Dalton, M.N., will receive a $175,000 loan and a $725,000 grant to help complete improvements to the current water and sewer treatment systems. This project will help finance cost over-runs from initial project started in 2016 of a $1,915,000 loan and $421,000 grant. USDA’s investment will alleviate current health problems associated with aging infrastructure for 253 residents in southern Otter Tail County.
Finstad’s announcement is in coordination with Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s announcement today that USDA is investing $267 million for 103 infrastructure projects in 35 states through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion in FY 2017. It also directs Agriculture Secretary Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.