Farm Progress

USDA invests $394 million in Rural Partners Network projects

Funding will support infrastructure and access to better jobs, housing and healthcare.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

May 23, 2023

2 Min Read
USDA building with flags
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USDA will invest $394 million to assist rural communities in eight states and Puerto Rico. Funding for those grants will come through the Rural Partners Network. That program provides grants for rural and tribal communities to improve infrastructure and access to better jobs, housing and healthcare. It’s another part of the Biden Administrations’ Investing in America initiative, which has funded more than $470 billion private sector projects across the country.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda provides a historic opportunity to transform our economy from one that benefits a few to one that benefits many,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through Rural Partners Network, USDA staff is on the ground listening to those many different voices in rural America and responding with funding and resources that will help people in small towns, rural places and on tribal lands build stronger communities and brighter futures.”

Announced in April 2022, the Rural Partners Network now includes more than 500 federal, state and local partners collaborating to help communities that often struggle to access government programs. USDA full-time staffers that live and work in those areas provide technical assistance to community networks based on local needs.

This latest round of funding will support projects in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. According to USDA officials, residents in Alabama, Florida and Texas will benefit from these investments as well.

Among the 52 newly-announced projects are efforts in Western states to improve water and wastewater services in tribal communities while bringing more renewable energy to tribal lands and farms. Other projects will help high-poverty communities in Southern states better access fresh foods.Funds will also be used help electric cooperatives bring power to more people in those communities with smart-grid technologies. Additional projects help Appalachia communities access clean water, better health care services and affordable housing.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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