Vermont Business Magazine U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary of Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is investing $ 222 million to build and improve critical community facilities in 44 states, in Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. This community infrastructure funding will benefit nearly 2.5 million people in rural communities. This includes Sharon Academy’s new STEM and arts wing, with a USDA 1.91 million RD loan. It also includes $ 132 million to support health care, food security and emergency response services for more than 850,000 rural residents in 37 states.
“The Biden-Harris administration is keeping its promise to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild our economy,” Torres Small said. “Rural Americans need emergency response, hospitals and medical facilities, and USDA loans and grants are investing in critical infrastructure to make this possible. USDA Rural Development puts rural people at the forefront of investments and opportunities to help us all build back better, stronger and more resilient.
Cheryl Ducharme, Acting State Director for Rural Development for USDA in Vermont and New Hampshire (RD) was pleased to make the announcement, which includes $ 3,014,790 in grants and loans for projects in the two states. “We are seeing essential recovery and reconstruction every day in our rural towns and villages,” she said. “Community R&D programs fund transformative projects at a crucial time, ensuring healthier, happier lives and a brighter future for families and neighbors who make their hometowns special places to live and visit. “
USDA is investing in 536 projects through the Direct Community Facility Loans and Grants program. The aid will fund essential community services that will help maintain rural America’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The projects will finance emergency response vehicles and equipment; build or improve hospitals, clinics and schools; and fight against food insecurity.
• A grant of $ 341,063 to the Town of Tuftonboro, NH, will help build a new patrol station for the police department. Features include a secure lobby and reservation
area, private entrance for victims and suspects, extended storage, dedicated
administrative area and meeting space, changing rooms and break rooms, and improved
video surveillance. 2,387 rural residents will benefit from the project.
• A modern science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) addition to Sharon Academy (TSA) in Sharon, Vermont, will maximize enrollment through aCommunity facilities loan of $ 1.91 million. The green technology-based project will provide new learning and teaching opportunities for ASD students and educators for generations to come. 1,502 rural residents will be positively affected.
• $ 37,490 in grants for the Taproot Farm and Environmental Education Center in Lancaster, New Hampshire will be used to purchase coolers and freezers, expanding access to local food during pandemic and times food insecurity. The centre’s Root Seller Marketplace will also increase its ability to collect and safely store surplus produce from farms and gardens before distributing them to local food donor organizations. These improvements will benefit 3,507 rural people.
Investments announced today will support community infrastructure projects in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas , Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Over 100 types of projects are eligible for community facility funding. Eligible applicants include federally recognized municipalities, public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and Native American tribes. Projects must be located in rural areas of 20,000 inhabitants or less. For more information visit https: //www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/community-facilities/community-facilities-direct-loan-grant-program.
Today’s Investments Complement Recently Announced USDA Funding Availability Emergency Grants Program for Rural Health Care, which is also administered under the community facilities program. Through this program, USDA is making up to $ 500 million available through the US bailout to help rural health facilities, tribes and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, services health and nutritional assistance.
Under the Rural Health Care Emergency Grant program, recovery grant applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until funds are spent. For more information visit www.rd.usda.gov/erhc.
Interested parties should contact their USDA State Bureau for Rural Development for more information on additional funding, application procedures and eligibility. See also the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guide for Applicants(PDF, 669 KB) for a detailed overview of the application process.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the U.S. food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to safe and nutritious food in all communities, creating new markets and sources of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and committing promoting fairness across the Department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Source: WILLARD, Missouri, November 19, 2021 – United States Department of Agriculture