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USDA Invests $243 Million in Rural Facilities in 22 States
North Dakota Ag Connection - 05/17/2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett Wednesday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $243 million in 50 rural community facility projects in 22 states.

"Rural communities represent a wealth of opportunity," Hazlett said. "Under Secretary Perdue's leadership, USDA is a partner in bringing those opportunities to life -- whether attracting jobs, accessing additional capital, or improving the quality of life in these towns through access to modern community services."

USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The recently passed 2018 Omnibus bill increased the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget for the program to $2.8 billion, up $200 million from FY 2017.

Senator John Hoeven announced that USDA Rural Development has approved a loan of more than $14.7 million to the Unity Medical Center in Grafton. Hoeven wrote a letter of support for Unity Medical Center's loan application to Rural Development last year. The funds are in addition to $5 million from the Bank of North Dakota and will be used to renovate part of the current facility and assist with an almost 27,000 square foot addition.

"As a Critical Access Hospital, Unity Medical Center provides essential services for individuals in the Grafton area and throughout Walsh County," said Hoeven. "Today's investment will help fund a much-needed expansion of the facilities, enabling the Center to continue to meet individuals' medical needs and provide enhanced services."

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for funding, such as schools, health care facilities, libraries and infrastructure improvements. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally and state-recognized Native American tribes in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. There is no limit on the size of the loans. Loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $165 million.

Projects are being announced today in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

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