Jim Nordlund
Alaska State Director
USDA Rural Development

Photo of Jim Norlund State Director

Dear Friends of Rural Development,

It is a great privilege to lead this agency that has done so much for rural Alaska. USDA-Rural Development (RD) is a little known, but high impact federal agency that has made critical investments in rural Alaska including electric and telecom utilities, water and sanitation, housing, community facilities and rural businesses.

Of course, in Alaska, the word rural means something different. With few people living across a vast and wild landscape, the challenge of building infrastructure and providing services is unmatched in the rest of America. Many rural Alaskans, both Native and non-Native, feed their families with wild fish and game they harvested. There are few roads so transportation by small plane, boat, four-wheeler, dog sled and snow machine are common. Materials often have to be shipped by barge before the rivers freeze. Construction is challenging when building on permafrost and when temperatures reach 70 below. The cost of living is high.

In spite of these challenges, Alaska RD is up to the task. We are organized into five areas. Our Interior Area is larger than Texas and our West Area is larger than California. And yet, our staff and partners have done an amazing job bringing critical infrastructure to rural Alaskans.

From 2009 through 2011, we invested over $950 million to bring water and sanitation to villages still on honey buckets; provided ambulances and public safety equipment to communities on and off the road system; financed the construction of critical access hospitals; helped families build, purchase and repair their homes; invested in wind and other renewable energy systems; connected communities to broadband and high-speed internet; and helped small businesses create and retain jobs in rural communities.

Alaska is a young state, still in need of critical infrastructure. Please feel free to contact me or a Rural Development staff member to see if we can help. We look forward to continuing our efforts to meet the needs of rural Alaska.


Jim Nordlund
Alaska State Director


Jim Nordlund was appointed to the position of Alaska Director for USDA Rural Development by President Obama in August of 2009. Jim has lived in Alaska for 29 years and is the owner of Nordlund Carpentry, LLC, and is a residential building contractor in Anchorage. Jim work in Alaska includes seven years as the state Director of Public Assistance where he managed 500 employees and a $250 million budget. He also served in the Alaska State House of Representatives, and he has been a commercial fisherman.

Jim has been re-elected as Chairman of the Chugach Electric Association Board of Directors. Jim has his bachelor degree from St. John University in Minnesota and a Master in Public Administration from the University of Colorado. He is married with one child and lives in Anchorage.