June 6, 2012 | LXXII, No. 10

USDA is committed to the future in rural America

As an agency, along with other federal and state entities, we have embraced the responsibility of enacting, with tangible results in the field, the task of helping our country travel down the path of economic recovery – and we are succeeding.

Events were held all over the country May 31 to showcase how USDA Rural Development is committed to the future or rural communities through successful healthcare, education and public safety investments through our Community Facilities Program. This commemoration was in conjunction to the release of a report highlighting the ways in which infrastructure investments in rural communities help create jobs and boost economic development.

“Quality hospitals, schools and libraries are the building blocks for a vibrant rural America,” said Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack. "(These programs) illustrate how the Obama Administration is leveraging USDA Rural Development’s investments to ensure that rural communities can compete in the global economy.”

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. Our Community Facilities Program supports essential infrastructure and services for public use in rural areas of 20,000 in population or less. Since the start of fiscal year 2009, Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program, nationally, has helped more than 37 million rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety by financing projects through loans, grants, or loan guarantees.

In Washington state, from 2009 through fiscal year 2011, over $104.6 million was invested in a plethora of projects around the state. Small to big, these projects make a huge difference for rural residents.

For example, in Okanogan County, the Little Star Montessori School in Winthrop received a grant of $8,900 in 2010 to purchase and install replacement flooring at the child day care center serving 50 children. In the Northwest corner of the state, the Lummi Indian Business Council received $27.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for their new Government Building and Community Center.

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Secretary Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs and for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.

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