Newton, Iowa, May 21, 2013 -- John Padalino, Acting USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator, today began a three-day tour throughout rural Iowa to visit with local businesses and organizations about opportunities for expanding rural economic activities.
Padalino’s tour began by meeting with leaders with the Iowa Rural Water Association and Xenia Rural Water District.
USDA Rural Development and Iowa’s Xenia Rural Water District earlier this spring announced an agreement that will set the rural water utility on a path to financial viability, while continuing to provide clean water for its 9,400 customers in 11 counties in central and north central Iowa.
During the last three-and-a-half years, USDA worked closely with Xenia in an effort to improve its operations, address financial shortfalls and ensure access to clean water for its rural customers.
“I applaud the dedication and hard work of the USDA staff in Iowa, as well as everyone involved in the development of a successful solution for all parties that kept the system operational,” Padalino said. “USDA Rural Development’s focus has been, and continues to be, the continuation of service for those who live and work in the rural communities that Xenia serves.”
Padalino then held a meeting in Minburn, a community of just 400 residents in rural Dallas County. A main topic with community and business leaders was the benefits of a recently completed fiber-to-the-home broadband project that was funded, in part, by USDA Rural Development.
“Broadband has changed the way all Americans live, especially those in our rural communities and areas,” Padalino said. “Rural Iowa will remain vibrant and prosperous as Minburn Communications and others stay focused on innovation and infrastructure development. Access to broadband is one of the keys to a successful rural America.”
Minburn Communications also announced last month that it would be Iowa’s third Village Post Office, a partnership program with the U.S. Postal Service to assist communities facing a reduction in hours at their local post office. Minburn’s post office is now open only four hours a day. Customers with basic postal needs can visit Minburn Communications nine hours a day for assistance.
Tomorrow, May 22, Acting Administrator Padalino will meet with Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) to discuss ways it can continue to work with USDA to help promote economic activities through the state’s network of rural electric cooperatives. IADG works in partnership with USDA and is essentially the economic development arm for rural electric cooperatives in the state. IADG is also the driving force for all that rural electric cooperatives do collaboratively to support rural communities.
Padalino’s Iowa tour will conclude on Thursday, May 23 with visits to Corn Belt Power Cooperative in Humboldt and Iowa Lakes Regional Water in Spencer. Corn Belt Power Cooperative serves farms, rural residents, small towns, businesses and industries in 41 northern Iowa counties. Iowa Lakes Regional Water provides a safe, reliable source of water to homes and farms in northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota.
About USDA Rural Development
This past year USDA Rural Development’s investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,600 jobs, aided 2,400 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 60 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
For more information about finance programs available through USDA Rural Development, please call (515) 284-4663 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
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 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 a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
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