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USDA Rural Health

Welcome! USDA actively collaborates across its mission areas and with other federal agencies and partners to support rural health.  While many parts of USDA fund programs, conduct research or provide technical assistance related to rural health, the 2018 Farm Bill also designated a specific role for USDA in promoting rural health, the USDA Rural Health Liaison. 

On this page you’ll find resources and links to help rural communities address health and factors that influence health in their communities. 

Rural Development Programs and Rural Health

Rural communities face unique challenges and barriers that impact health, such as fewer health care providers and medical facilities, farther distances to travel to care, and other factors that can influence care like transportation options, availability of healthy foods, and access to safe and secure housing. These factors are often referred to as the social determinants of health and can impact the health of individuals and the entire community.

USDA Rural Development has programs and resource guides that are developed to provide rural communities access to opportunities that create impactful solutions to improve rural health. 

Other USDA Agency programs and opportunities to improve rural health:

What’s New/Latest Notices

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Rural America can face unique challenges including behavioral healthcare provider shortages, lack of insurance coverage for mental healthcare services, common occupations that face additional challenges such as agriculture, construction, and health and social services where physical and mental stresses along with stigma around seeking care can increase the risk and impact of behavioral health challenges.  This month, Rural Development is highlighting three organizations that provides education, tools, and support to employers to help their employees’ mental health.

Upcoming Events & Initiatives

USDA RD RWIN’s May Special Webinar for Mental Health Awareness Month: “Mental Health in the Rural Workplace”. Speakers from Recovery Friendly Workplace- New Hampshire, American Farm Bureau Federation, and Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention will share information about how their programs and resources can support employers' and employees' mental health in rural workplaces.

Tuesday, May 21, 1:30-3pm ET | Registration

Rural Health Resources and Tools

The following links include tools and resources to help rural community leaders, industry, educators, and others to understand the challenges and programs available to support rural health for individuals and communities.

    • USDA and Rural Health Care Fact Sheet - Document that describes how USDA is committed to ensuring the success of rural hospitals and health care facilities, such as funding opportunities that supports bricks-and-mortar construction, offsets the cost of necessary equipment and first responder vehicles, and promotes technology that brings world-class care to rural places.
    • USDA RD Rural Health - How USDA RD improves rural health with FY23 data.
    • USDA Rural Health Liaison Infographic - What is the USDA Rural Health Liaison position, the role and responsibilities, and FY23 accomplishments.
    • USDA Rural Health Success Stories - Success stories that show how USDA health programs can impact health in rural and tribal communities.
    • USDA Rural Health Program Inventory - A curated and filterable list of USDA grants, funding programs, and resources related to health or that can impact community health that are available
    • Rural Emergency Health Care Grants - This Story Map educates how USDA RD’s awarded ARPA fund projects, called Rural Emergency Health Care Grants, were used to create health impacts in rural and tribal communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Rural Hospital Technical Assistance Program - Rural Development has partnered with the National Rural Health Association to provide financial, managerial, and operational technical assistance to rural hospitals.
    • Rural Data Gateway (link to) - features Rural Investments Dashboards that significantly expand access to RD financial data through an easy-to-use interface that allows data from more than 65 RD programs to be viewed and downloaded. The Gateway and dashboards will help USDA get more resources to the people who need them in rural places.
    • Rural Development Resource Guides - RD has a series of resource guides and toolkits to inform rural communities and create community projects to improve rural health. If you are interested in proposing a new topic for a resource guide, please send an email to Innovation@usda.gov
    • USDA Rural Program Success Stories - rural.gov
    • Farmers.gov - USDA’s Dashboard for local farmers in all 50 states to help find local agricultural data and USDA tools and resources to support your agricultural needs, such as protection and recovery, conservation, tax resources, and more.
    • Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Networks - Regional networks funded by USDA to support farmer mental health.
    • USDA RD Tribal Relations - RD Tribal Relations Team champions and coordinates our work with Tribes. Through consultation, coordination, and collaboration, we honor our government-to-government relationships with Tribes and enhance access to our various programs and services to Tribes, Tribal members, and Tribal organizations.
    • USDA RD Innovation Matters Newsletter - A monthly newsletter that shares a comprehensive document that provides information on funding programs to help rural communities access loan and grant financial support.
    • Rural Community Toolbox - Website that shares federal funding and resources for rural communities to address substance misuse and help rural communities become strong, healthy, prosperous, and resilient places to live and work.
    • Description of NRHA Technical Assistance and link to application for program
    • USDA Rural Development Innovation Center - The Innovation Center is hard-wired into USDA’s structure, with a mission to identify best practices and bring continuous improvement in program delivery to enhance rural quality of life. Find information on the Farm Bill, data resources, and other tools and resources to support rural communities thrive.

Contact Us

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