WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service Administrator Bruce W. Lammers has announced that USDA is investing almost $12 million in 41 community facilities projects that will benefit 214,000 Americans in rural communities in 17 states.

“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to bring essential facilities and services to rural communities,” Lammers said. “Investments in our rural areas provide a foundation for growth and prosperity that strengthens the nation’s overall economy.”

USDA is making the investments and has additional funding available through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for application and eligibility details.

The 41 projects are in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. More than 100 types of projects are eligible for community facilities program funding.

Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

USDA will make additional funding announcements in the coming weeks. Congress appropriated $2.8 billion for community facilities direct loans and grants in Fiscal Year 2019.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

In April 2017, Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities.

Findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.

For more information, visit rd.usda.gov.

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