Overview of USDA’s Rural Development Agency

Rincker Law Food & Ag Law Leave a Comment

I’m currently conducting a blog series where each week I give an overview of the responsibilities of a government agency regulating our food and agriculture system.  I think it’s a helpful reminder for everyone on just how complex our regulatory system is.  It’s a game of Who’s Who for government players in the U.S. food and agriculture economy.

RD is the only USDA agency for the Under Secretary of Rural Development.  It offers financial assistance to improve the quality of life in rural America.  Structurally, RD has offices in every state and is divided into the following offices:

1.  Rural Business-Cooperative Service – It provides for business credit needs in rural areas oftentimes in partnership with private lenders through various loan (e.g., Business and Industry Guaranteed Loans, Intermediary Relending Program, Rural Energy for America Program Guaranteed Loan Program, Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant, Rural Business Investment Program) and grant programs (e.g., Repowering Assistance Program, Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels Payments, Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program, Rural Energy for America Program Grants).

2.  Rural Housing Service— It provides loans and grants for housing and community facilities in rural communities (e.g., single family homes, apartments for low-income persons or elderly, housing for farm laborers, childcare centers, schools, nursing homes) (e.g. Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants, Individual Water and Waste Grants, Community Facilities Grants).

3.  Rural Utilities Service—It provides payments, grants and loans to build or improve the infrastructure of utilities in rural areas (e.g., High Energy Cost Grant Program, Distance Learning and Telmedicine Loan and Grant Program, Community Connect Grant Program, Weather Radio Transmitter Grant Program, Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loans and Grants, Wastewater Revolving Fund Grants).

4.  Office of Community and Economic Development—It administers various Community and Economic Development Programs (“CEDP”) supported by partnerships among private, public and nonprofit organization.

New York’s RD office is located in Syracuse and has local offices in the Western Region (Batavia, Bath, Canandaigua), Northern Region (Canton, Watertown and Cortland) and Eastern Region (Greenwich, Scholharie, Marcy, and Middletown).

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