Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Support to Improve Health and Safety for Rural Americans

Press Release

By:  Thomas Vilsack
Date: Sept. 26, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced support for projects to create jobs and improve the quality of life in rural communities in 25 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

"The Obama administration is committed to helping eligible rural communities obtain reliable emergency equipment and provided vital services," said Vilsack. These projects will help rural communities, protect the safety of residents and create a framework for job creation and economic growth."

The more than $5 million in funding announced today will support 127 projects through USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program. For example, the City of Dermott, Arkansas, will receive $450,000 in loan and grant funds to construct a new fire department building. Lake County, Michigan, was selected to receive $56,300 in funds to replace three high mileage sheriff's department vehicles. The village of Raymondville, Missouri, will receive almost $15,000 to install a storm warning system. Wisconsin's Lake Holcombe School District will receive $40,000 to remodel a science classroom and bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A complete list of Community Facilities projects announced today can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/rdCFChart.pdf. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement.

States receiving funding include: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

USDA's Community Facilities program provides loans and grants for essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. These facilities include child care centers, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted-living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings and transportation. Through this program, USDA ensures that such facilities are available to all rural residents. These funds are available to public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes. More information about the Community Facilities Program can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/Reports/rdCFReportMay31-2012.pdf.

For additional information on RD projects, please visit Rural Development's new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way -- strengthening America's economy and strengthening small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.