U.S. Department of Agriculture: Strategic Economic and Community Development
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) administers a multitude of Federal programs for the benefit of rural America, ranging from housing and community facilities to infrastructure and business development. Its mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in rural communities by providing the leadership, infrastructure, capital, and technical support that enables rural communities to prosper. To achieve its mission, RD provides financial support (including direct loans, grants, and loan guarantees) and technical assistance.
Section 6025 of the 2014 Farm Bill amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act by adding a new section: Section 379H, Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD). This section provides RD the ability to prioritize projects that are part of multi-jurisdictional strategic economic development or community development plans. This provides a mechanism to further RD’s mission by leveraging projects that spur regional economic and community development. In addition, this will reward communities that demonstrate best practices for furthering sustainable regional and community prosperity by bringing together key local and regional stakeholders and using long-term planning that integrates targeted investments across communities and regions. The goal of the program is to create a regional focus and increase collaboration across Rural Development agencies and programs, so that USDA resources can have a larger impact, enabling greater wealth creation, and quality of life improvements.
Programs funded will be community facility programs, water and waste disposal programs, and rural business and cooperative development programs. To be eligible for the reserved funds, projects must be first eligible for funding under the programs from which the funds are reserved (see below). In addition, projects must be carried out solely in rural areas.
Amount: RD will reserve up to 10 percent of an underlying program’s funding to fund projects under this priority. See programs below.
Eligibility: Applicants who qualify for the the following programs may apply to SECD:
- Community Facility Direct Loans and Grants
- Community Facilities Loan Guarantees
- Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees
- Water & Waste Loans and Grants
- Business and Industry Loan Guarantees (B&I)
- Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG)
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