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Several Programs Receiving USDA Funding

Several Programs Receiving USDA Funding

Funds announced for home repair and transportation reimbursement programs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says applications are being accepted for grants to help low- and very-low-income rural residents repair their homes. These funds help limited-income rural homeowners improve their living conditions. He says the costs associated with maintaining a home are a challenge for many rural homeowners and the funding will be used by awardees to help low and very-low-income residents in rural areas maintain and repair their homes.

The grants can be used to weatherize and repair existing structures, install or improve plumbing or provide access to people with disabilities. Housing Preservation Grants are provided to intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian Tribes and non-profit and faith-based organizations. The grants are then distributed to qualified homeowners or owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents.

USDA may award up to $9.8 million in competitive grants through the Housing preservation Grant program. Applications are due on August 22.

The Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment Program for Geographically Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers as authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill provides payments to offset costs of transporting ag inputs and products over long distances. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that USDA has begun issuing nearly $2.6 million in fiscal year 2010 payments through RTCP. Vilsack says the program will partially compensate U.S. farmers and ranchers outside the contiguous continental U.S. who are at a competitive disadvantage when they move their products to market.

RTCP benefits are calculated based on costs incurred by the producer for transporting ag commodity or inputs in a fiscal year, subject to an $8,000 per producer cap. RTCP sign-ups for the coming fiscal year begin on July 25 and end Sept. 9. Applicants must file their application with their local Farm Service Agency county office by the deadline.

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