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USDA-RD Invests $300 Thousand with Isothermal Community College

Robert Kerns
Release Date

SPINDALE, N.C., January 31, 2023 – State Director Reginald Speight and members of the North Carolina USDA Rural Development team participated in a groundbreaking ceremony at Isothermal Community College, in Spindale today.

Rural Development is partnering with Appalachian Regional Commission to invest a $300 thousand grant to assist in the construction of a new arena at Isothermal Community College that will serve equine assisted therapy and agribusiness studies.

“Agribusiness is a major component of North Carolina industry,” said Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight. “Our partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission is helping us educate leaders in a major area of rural North Carolina business. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to the success of community colleges. This investment is proof positive of this.”

The space will serve as a practical lab area for hands on training required for successful completion of programs of study.

The arena will become the hub of the college’s suite of new and innovative programs in agribusiness, agriculture, equine business, and equine assisted activities and therapy. This will provide training and workforce development for groups who need skills to transition into different careers. The program will also assist traditional community college students enter the growing local and regional agriculture and agribusiness industries.

“We are so excited to see this project take shape with the support of our many partners,” said Dr. Margaret Annunziata, president of Isothermal. “This arena not only highlights and celebrates our area’s rich heritage in the equine industry but allows us to prepare highly skilled professionals to support the intersection of equine business, human services and equine therapy, and economic development for our region.” 

Rural Developments partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission uses Congressionally appropriated funds to invest in the region’s economic and community development through grants.


Under the Biden-Harris Administration, 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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


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