The Biden administration last week announced over $5 billion in new investments in rural communities across the country, as part of its effort to increase prosperity in all corners of the country.
Speaking at an event in Minnesota last week where the funding was announced, President Biden said that rural communities have, over the past few decades, “lost more than jobs.”
“They lost their sense of dignity, opportunity, pride,” he said. “My plan is about investing in rural America, but it’s about something else as well: it’s about restoring pride in rural communities that have been left behind for far too long.”
The funds will go towards economic development, competition, and sustainability by updating infrastructure, boosting high-speed internet, and helping agricultural producers and small businesses adopt climate-focused practices.
The USDA announced that $1.1 billion of the $5 billion in funds will be distributed across 104 loan and grant awards to upgrade infrastructure in rural communities, therefore bringing new jobs, clean water and fuel, and reliable electricity to people across the country.
In Iowa, Golden Grain Energy LLC will use a $2.2 million grant to create infrastructure to expand the sales and use of renewable fuels by installing an above ground ethanol storage tank and a loading rack at the company’s location in Mason City. This project is expected to increase the amount of ethanol sold by nearly 22 million gallons per year, which will reduce harmful tailpipe emissions.
The Western Iowa Power Cooperative will also use an $11 million loan to connect 220 consumers to the internet, and build and improve 62 miles of line. This will improve internet access for 5,578 consumers over 2,076 miles of line in nine counties in west central Iowa.
Two billion dollars of the funding will be distributed across 99 economic development projects in nine states and Puerto Rico. This funding will be used to create jobs and build infrastructure, as well as increase access to quality health care, affordable housing, and clean water and energy.
The US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) will also use $1.7 billion of the funds to adopt “climate-smart agricultural practices.” These include working with farmers to reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizer to ensure that less nitrous oxide—a potent greenhouse gas—gets into the air; growing crops that naturally sequester carbon, and therefore improve soil quality; farming in a way that limits soil disturbance; and more.
In addition to helping the environment, these climate-focused practices are expected to offer farmers, ranchers, and foresters new revenue streams.
Two hundred seventy-four million dollars will be distributed across 16 grant and loan awards to expand access to high-speed internet for Americans living in eight states. The majority of that $274 million comes from the ReConnect Program, which is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program helps ensure that all Americans have access to reliable, high-speed internet.
Finally, $145 million of the total funding will be used across 700 loan and grant awards through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which helps farmers and other agricultural producers make “energy efficiency improvements” to their businesses to lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resiliency of their operations.
In the fall of 1972, I was a shy ninth-grader entering Mt. St. Ursula in the Bronx. My legal name was Mary Bernadette, but I always went by my...
A second lawsuit against portions of an education law passed by Iowa Republicans and signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds just dropped this week. Penguin...
The nights are getting longer, and the days chillier, and there’s never a better time to get lost in a new book (except maybe the dead...
Classic, vintage, iconic, and just plain cool, we found some old movie theaters sprinkled across the state—many of them long-time staples on the...