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USDA Partners to Improve Rural S.D, Community Infrastructure
South Dakota Ag Connection - 10/12/2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $181 million in 88 projects that will build community infrastructure and facilities in 27 states, including three projects in South Dakota.

"Infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity in small towns across our country," Hazlett said. "Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to building prosperity in rural America through modern infrastructure."

Hazlett announced the funding during a forum co-sponsored by the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation. USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural areas make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as schools, libraries and day care centers. In South Dakota:

- Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company will use $111,500 loan and a $38,500 grant for the purchase of furniture and equipment for the new chamber of commerce office building. The chamber serves 10,571 residents

- Reliance Fire Department will use a $15,000 loan and a $50,000 grant to purchase a new brush truck to serve a community of 3,755.

- Eagle Butte Volunteer Fire Department will use a $26,900 loan and a $19,450 grant to purchase protective gear for its firefighters. Thirty sets of bunker gear including boots, helmets, coats, and pants will be purchased. The fire department serves the 4,800 residents of Dewey County, including members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. The federal funds will be leveraged with a $30,550 Economic Impact Initiative grant and an applicant contribution of $3,100.

The projects announced will help improve the quality of life for 1.1 million rural residents in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. Applicants and projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill increased the budget for the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.

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