News Release
Release No.STELPRD4019315
ContactTammi Schone605-352-1102
(JANUARY 9, 2013) USDA HIGHLIGHTS 2012 INVESTMENTS TO BUILD STRONGER RURAL COMMUNITIES
2012 Investments
Washington, DC, Jan 09, 2013 --

@@Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued a report highlighting USDA Rural Development's fiscal year (FY) 2012 investments in job creation, businesses, infrastructure and housing for Americans living in rural communities across the nation.

"President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment in rural communities that have made them stronger," Vilsack said. "Thanks to our loan, grant and technical assistance programs, USDA Rural Development is helping residents and rural enterprises thrive, and we are laying a strong foundation for rural America's future."

With an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees, Rural Development has provided affordable housing, improved utility infrastructure, and helped businesses and cooperatives create jobs, build rural economies and increase the quality of life in rural areas. For a full copy of the 2012 Progress Report, go to (http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/RD2012ProgressReport.pdf).

For example, in 2012, nearly 64,000 rural residents received new or better access to broadband Internet service. Under the Rural Utilities Program, Rural Development provided approximately $4.7 billion in electric loans, $173 million in telecommunications loans and grants, and $1.4 billion in water and waste disposal loan and grants.

Through its Community Facilities loan and grant program, Rural Development provided more than $8.6 million to construct or improve 48 rural libraries, and provided more than $888 million in assistance for 243 projects to improve the delivery of health care for rural Americans. All told, Rural Development provided more than $1.5 billion in community facilities loans and grants to develop or improve essential facilities like these in rural areas.

In addition to the efforts to support education and health care, another key aspect of the Community Facilities program is the ability to support emergency responders. For example, Rural Development provided $170,000 to the Vale Fire Department, Vale, SD to purchase a 2012 Freightliner 3,000 gallon style tanker-pumper. The new fire truck will allow the volunteer fire department to provide a much needed service to people living within Vale’s are of responsibility in Butte and Meade Counties, approximately 119 square miles, and improve mutual aid assistance to communities in the region.

Rural Development is also the lead agency ensuring that rural families have access to safe, well-built, affordable homes. In 2012, Rural Development helped 7,940 families with low- incomes obtain safe, affordable homes, providing approximately $900.9 million in single-family direct subsidized loans. Under the single-family guaranteed loan program, Rural Development helped more than 145,100 moderate-income families purchase single-family homes. More than 7,000 rural individuals or families were able to repair their homes under the home repair loan and grant program.

In 2012, USDA Rural Development assisted more than 270,000 low- and very-low-income families, who were able to live in safe, multi-family housing thanks to $904.7 million in rental assistance to bring their rents to an affordable level.

Rural Development also helped approximately 1,700 families move into new apartment units through $122.6 million for low-income rental housing development, $104.3 million in guaranteed loans for moderate-income rental housing development, and $5.5 million for multi-family housing for farm workers and their families.

Through Rural Development's business and cooperative loan, grant and technical assistance programs, the agency helped about 9,700 rural small business owners or farmers improve their enterprises in 2012. Business and cooperative program funding created or saved more than 53,000 rural jobs in 2012. Rural Development provided slightly more than $1 billion in Business and Industry loan guarantees, $25.5 million in Rural Business Enterprise grants, $50.3 million in Rural Economic Development loans and grants, $17.5 million in Intermediary Relending Program loans, and $40.4 million in Value Added Producer Grants in 2012.

For example, Prairie Berry Winery near Hill City, SD is expanding. The building expansion will allow for a 150 percent increase in wine production capacity, a redesign and remodel of the existing tasting room, significantly expanded parking and a centralized water treatment and storage system to support the increased size of the facility. This expansion was made possible by a USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Business and Industry loan in partnership with Great Western Bank in Rapid City, SD.

For additional information on Rural Development projects, please visit Rural Development's new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for the past four fiscal years. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.