USDA Invites Comments on Final Rule to Expand Broadband Access in Rural America Under the ReConnect Program

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that USDA is seeking comments on a final rule to expand broadband service in rural areas by simplifying program requirements to make more companies eligible to participate in USDA’s ReConnect Program.

USDA Invests $42 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure to Improve Education and Health Outcomes

Pennsylvania DLT project receives $490,381 grant

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it is investing $42.3 million to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. Rural areas are seeing higher infection and death rates related to COVID-19 due to several factors, including a much higher percentage of underlying conditions, difficulty accessing medical care, and lack of health insurance.

Apply by April 30, 2018 for the Rural Business Development Grant

Regarding the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) in Fiscal Year 2018: Due the uncertainty of funding this year, as well as the numerous short Continuing Resolutions, Rural Development has determined that it is in the best interest of the program and the Agency to create one standard application window.

The RBDG application window will open on March 1, 2018, and close April 30, 2018. Applications must be received no later than April 30, 2018, to be considered for any anticipated funding. 

USDA Certifies Another Rural Business Investment Fund

Acting Deputy Under Secretary Roger Glendenning today announced that USDA has certified the Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV LP as an investment pool for small and startup rural businesses.

   “This certification is another tool USDA provides to help rural businesses, to create jobs and to attract private-sector capital to rural communities,” Glendenning said. “Geography should not be a barrier to economic success. This pool will offer rural business owners the same access to capital as their counterparts in metropolitan areas.”

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah Tours Leg-Up Farm in York

USDA Under Secretary Lisa Mensah and USDA Rural Development Pennsylvania State Director Tom Williams toured Leg-Up Farm, a non-profit therapy center in York County, Pennsylvania for children with special needs. Leg-Up Farm provides the community with individually tailored treatment plans, breadth of services, and a child-friendly environment in a convenient, centralized location. Funding for Leg Up Farm was provided by USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities program in 2008.

Southeastern Technical College Using Workforce Development Partnerships to Rejuvenate Region’s Economy

With an unemployment rate at or above seven percent in five of the eight counties served by Southeastern Technical College, training a highly skilled labor force that can find sustaining employment within the region is a necessity.   In response, Southeastern Tech utilized comprehensive analysis, planning, and assessments with area manufacturing representatives, the Swainsboro/Emanuel County Development Authority, and local businesses and industries to add the Computer Numerical Controller (CNC) Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC) program.

USDA Partners with North Georgia Technical College to Prepare a Technically Skilled Workforce

   U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced a $97,900 grant award to North Georgia Technical College (NGTC) that will improve ambulance-based safety and technology training for Emergency Medical Services program students. Funding comes from the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program which is designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas.