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USDA Reports Record Levels of Investment North Dakota
North Dakota Ag Connection - 01/20/2021

USDA Rural Development state director for North Dakota Clare Carlson Tuesday highlighted the department's investments in 2020 that are building prosperity and strengthening North Dakota's rural businesses and communities.

"Rural Development North Dakota invested a record $425 million in 2020," said Carlson. "We strived to increase opportunities available to rural communities across the state." Carlson added, "This year was challenging to everyone, including those residing in North Dakota. We worked tirelessly to bring capabilities and resources to as many people as we could. Our goal was to continue to be an integral part of those rural communities, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives."

Below is a summary of USDA RD North Dakota's Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 accomplishments:

Connecting Rural America to High-Speed Broadband

- Invested over $30 million to support rural broadband projects through the ReConnect Pilot Program. The projects will connect 3,260 households, 9 educational facilities, one health care center, one critical community facility and span over 2,700 miles.

Improving Rural Infrastructure

- Invested over $120 million in 5 projects to upgrade or build electric infrastructure. These investments will benefit 95,000 customers by improving electric service reliability across more than 25 counties. The projects will build or improve upon over 1,100 miles of line.

- Invested over $6 million in Smart Grid technology to improve electric system operations and monitor grid security for rural electric customers.

- Invested over $25 million to expand access to safe drinking water and improve wastewater management systems. These investments will improve the reliability of local water supply for over 13,000 rural North Dakota residents.

- Invested over $140 million through the Community Facilities Programs in rural infrastructure projects such as roads, airports and transportation improvements.

Bolstering Rural Economic Development

- Invested $3 million to assist rural businesses through the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program. Included in this total was $500,000 provided through the CARES Act. These investments created or saved 22 jobs.

- Invested more than $700,000 in 18 loan and grant projects through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy systems, and energy development assistance in rural businesses. These investments are projected to generate or save more than 8.8 million kWh.

Improving Rural Quality of Life

- Invested $145 million in loans and grants through the Community Facilities Programs that funded the construction or modernization of 50 essential community facilities such as rural hospitals, educational institutions and public safety facilities.

- Invested over $1 million through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program in 2 distance learning and telemedicine projects. These investments will benefit 130,000 rural residents, making it easier for them to access healthcare and educational opportunities without having to travel long distances.

- Invested $86 million in direct and guaranteed loans through the Single Family Housing Programs to help 483 low- and moderate-income families buy homes in North Dakota. There was also nearly $150,000 invested in repairs to 25 homes.

- Enhancing Customer Service

- Cut red tape to increase private investment in rural America by making it easier for lenders to access four flagship loan programs under the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative.

- Took immediate actions to assist rural residents, businesses and communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, USDA launched a Federal Rural Resource Guide, provided loan forbearances, halted evictions, and made additional funding available under existing programs. For more information, visit our COVID-19 response page.

- Streamlined regulations to ease customer access to CARES Act programs, infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

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


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