INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (USDA) – USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced July 20 the publication of a guide outlining programs the federal government has available to support rural communities as they promote economic development and enhance the quality of life for rural residents.
"Rural communities across the country are working hard to build their economies and provide services to their residents," Tonsager said during a speech here at a conference of the National Rural Economic Developers Association. "Creating great places to live, raise families, provide recreational opportunities, and infrastructure for high paying jobs in rural America is very important to the Obama administration and our efforts at USDA. This publication will provide easy, one-stop access to federal programs."
The publication Federal Resources for Sustainable Rural Communities is a collaborative effort among USDA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. It ensures rural communities have access to all of the federal resources that can support their efforts to promote economic competitiveness, protect healthy environments, modernize infrastructure and provide services to residents. The guide has key information on funding and technical assistance opportunities available from the four agencies, as well as examples of how rural communities across the country have benefitted from federal resources.
While in Indiana, Tonsager took part in a two-day tour to highlight ways USDA Rural Development programs have helped rural communities. For example, the Putnam County Hospital in Greencastle, Ind., received Rural Development Community Facilities guaranteed loans to repair structural problems and to purchase new billing program software. Tonsager also visited a Rural Development Water and Environmental Program project which replaced deteriorated water lines in the city of North Vernon's distribution system. He also met with local leaders in Batesville to discuss Rural Development funding opportunities.
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.