San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 31, 2023 – Maximiliano J. Trujillo-Ortega, USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico participates in the 99th Assembly of the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau Annual Assembly and continue to highlight economic development opportunities on the archipelago.
State Director Trujillo-Ortega indicated that: “It is an honor to be invited by Mr. Hector Cordero, President of the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau to their 99th Annual Assembly. Our programs and initiatives, such as the Rural Partners Network, RPN, help rural communities find resources that help create jobs, support community improvements, and build infrastructure.”
State Director Trujillo reiterated Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement awarding $266 million in loans and grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to make an investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of their operation. This funding is made possible in part by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest ever investment in combating the climate crisis.
State Director Trujillo-Ortega highlighted the impact of this announcement in Puerto Rico where 31 REAP grants with a combined total of $6,120,000 across the island. “The total investment between the grantee and Rural Development adds up to $19,759,000, contributing to the rural economy and promoting the economic development of Puerto Rico.” At this event USDA Rural Development announced that four of the awardees are rural farmers from the towns of Corozal, Adjuntas, San Sebastian and Hatillo. Projects such as these impact RPN areas and help build stronger and resilient communities.
State Director Trujillo-Ortega indicated that, in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture, will work on a series of principles seeking to benefit the Farmers and the Ranchers of the Island. USDA Rural Development is committed to strengthening the economic development of the Island’s agriculture by supporting the production of local food and further Puerto Rico’s long-term economic prosperity.
Dr. Karama Neal, USDA Rural Development Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator indicated that “Farmers in Puerto Rico work hard every day to feed their communities, the nation, and the world. Our Rural Energy for America program is a critical tool in advancing clean energy, supporting sustainable agriculture, and creating economic opportunities for Puerto Rican farmers, ranchers, and producers of all sizes. The Biden- Harris Administration and USDA recognize this and are committed to transforming our food system to one that creates new and better markets for small and mid-sized farmers that keep wealth in rural communities for future generations.”
USDA Rural Development announced 123 million in grants available nationwide through the Meat and Poultry Processing Program (MPPEP). The MPPEP provides grants to eligible independent processors to expand their capacity. State Director Trujillo-Ortega indicated that in March, from a similar program, Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program (MPILP), an award of $8,000,000 was made in Puerto Rico. “I encourage producers in Puerto Rico to apply to this new program, you can only compete and win for the funding if you apply.” These grants will help independent businesses build and modernize processing facilities and equipment, adopt new technologies and train workers among other activities.
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.
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