The White House announced $677 million in grants and loans today for high-speed internet service in rural areas of 22 states and the Marshall Islands. With the fourth round of funding, the USDA has put $3.1 billion into 179 rural broadband projects through its ReConnect program in less than two years.
The new farm bill should encourage rural economic development by making high-speed internet widely available and build on historic investments in carbon sequestration, said a group of center-left House Democrats.
The Biden administration on Tuesday announced more than $11 billion in grants and loan opportunities to expand rural electrification, which it said was the single largest investment in the sector since President Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act into law in 1936.
The USDA will award up to $1 billion in grants to help farmers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems or make energy-efficiency improvements to their property, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
In a camaraderie-filled meeting, Chairman Glenn Thompson said that everyone on the House Agriculture Committee was a member “of the farm team,” and his list of priorities for the committee put conventional agriculture and rural development first. “We certainly will have our work cut out for us as far as reauthorizing the farm bill,” he said on Wednesday.
Rural infrastructure projects across the country will receive a combined $5.2 billion in federal grants and loans to expand access to high-speed internet, electricity, and clean water, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the administration appeared "very close" to releasing a long-promised $700 million in pandemic aid to biofuel producers. The aid was announced in March as part of a remodeling of coronavirus relief programs by the incoming administration.
Rural communities often look outside of their boundaries for the solution — a new employer or new residents — to their economic doldrums, say the editors of "Investing in Rural Prosperity," published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. "We believe rural communities are more likely to achieve these and other common community and economic development goals if ... they build from the inside on the assets they already have," write Daniel Davis and Andrew Dumont.
The $1.2-trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress over the weekend will upgrade U.S. roads, bridges and ports while making high-speed internet available through the nation, said President Biden. An estimated one-third of rural households lack access to the internet at what the White House described as minimally acceptable speeds.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday that the USDA would spend up to $1.15 billion to bring high-speed internet services to people living in rural communities. The money would be available in loans and grants to providers who offer service with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second in areas that lack high-speed internet.
Nearly 6 million people in rural America had incomes below the poverty line during the pandemic year of 2020, an increase of 315,000 from the preceding year, according to a Census Bureau estimate released on Tuesday. The annual Income and Poverty report indicated that one in seven rural residents lived in poverty, compared to the national average of one in nine.
The USDA will invest $464 million to strengthen electric service in rural communities through smart-grid technology and help agricultural producers and businesses add renewable energy systems to lower energy costs and build climate-smart energy capacity in 48 states and Puerto Rico, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday.
President Biden chose former Rep Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico to serve as agriculture undersecretary for rural development, overseeing a portfolio of $43 billion in housing, utilities and business and industry programs. Congress overrode a Trump-era reorganization of USDA to re-create the Senate-confirmed post in 2018.
The rural poverty rate has exceeded the urban rate ever since the government began tracking both in the 1960s. The difference, 4.5 percentage points in the 1980s, has narrowed to an average of 3.1 points over the past 10 years, said the USDA in updating its rural poverty and well-being webpage.
More than a half century after the first Earth Day, with our planet in worse shape than it’s ever been, the challenge of slowing global warming and the environmental, economic and social devastation underway can sometimes feel like too much — too expensive, too complicated and too politically divisive to overcome. But when we wake up every morning in rural Marion County, Iowa, we aren’t filled with despair. We’re filled with hope in a revolutionary idea: that farmers will help mitigate climate damage that farmers will help mitigate climate damage if we pay them to make their operations more resilient and sustainable. (No paywall)
Most of the increased spending proposed by President Biden for USDA's so-called discretionary accounts would go to three things: Rural electricity, WIC and agricultural research. If approved by Congress, the money would accelerate the shift to cleaner electricity, help low-income families put food on the table and, as part of climate mitigation, find ways to verify carbon sequestration and greenhouse-gas reduction on the farm, said the White House.
President Biden plans to announce a plan to modernize U.S. infrastructure on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, with a dramatic expansion of rural broadband expected to be part of the package. Broadband service increasingly is seen as essential to rural prosperity and even survival. The pandemic …
In agricultural lore, the absentee landlord is often a resented figure, an outsider who reaps an income from the labor of the farmer and takes away the profits rather than investing in the local community. The modern-day situation is more nuanced, says a USDA study which finds that, for the most part, "non-operating landlords" (NOLS) live fairly close to their property.
Kelliann Blazek, a former congressional staffer who was the first director of Wisconsin's Office of Rural Prosperity, will serve as the agriculture and rural policy adviser to President Biden, announced the White House.