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USDA to Disburse $5 Billion to Rural Areas


In a visit to Northfield, MN. on November 1st, the President announced $5 billion in rural investment.  A total $1.7 billion will support what is referred to as “climate-smart agriculture”.  Approximately $1.0 billion will be awarded in 104 grants and loans to create new jobs related to the supply of water and electricity. Funding will be derived from a $5 billion allocated under the Inflation Reduction Act for home-grown biofuels.


Two billion dollars will be provided for 100 development projects under the Rural Partners Network.  Of direct benefit will be $275 million for high-speed internet access. The importance of internet connectivity was clearly demonstrated during the COVID period when at-home learning and work from home became necessary.


It is hoped that USDA will in some way be able to quantify the benefits from loans and grants, especially for small projects. It is inevitable that with a large numbers of grants misappropriation and wastage will occur.  Quantifying “environmentally friendly” projects will be extremely difficult since most are long-term in duration, presenting challenges for evaluation.