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Investing in Rural America – President Biden announces over US$5B in rural support

Investing in Rural America – President Biden announces over US$5B in rural support
Launching his Administration's Rural America Event series on November 1, 2023, US President Joe Biden speaks about the rural economy at Dutch Creek Farm near Northfield, Minnesota (photo courtesy DTN from White House Livestream).

On November 1, 2023, US President Joe Biden traveled to Northfield, Minnesota (MN) to visit Dutch Creek Farms to lead his Administration’s Investing in Rural America Event Series and highlight investments from the Biden Administration in rural America. During the visit, President Biden announced over US$5 billion in new investments from his Investing in America agenda – including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act – to advance rural prosperity, economic development, competition, and sustainability.

President Biden also discussed how “Bidenomics” and his “Investing in America” agenda are ensuring rural Americans do not have to leave their hometowns to find opportunities.

Over the course of two weeks, President Biden, Cabinet members, and Senior Administration Officials are “barnstorming” across the country as part of the Investing in Rural America Event series to highlight how the Biden-Harris Administration’s investments are bringing new revenue to farms, increased economic development in rural towns and communities, and more opportunity throughout the country.

US$1.7 billion in Climate-Smart Agriculture

As a lead in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in Rural America Event series, President Biden announced over US$5 billion in new investments in rural America, including US$1.7 billion in investments in Climate-Smart Agriculture.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing nearly US$1.7 billion in funding to support the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices, which have direct climate mitigation benefits, advance a host of other environmental co-benefits, and offer farmers, ranchers, and foresters new revenue streams.

Dutch Creek Farms, which President Biden visited, is a family farm that grows corn and soybeans and raises hogs.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Dutch Creek Farms has used several climate-smart agriculture techniques to make their farm more sustainable, including growing crops that naturally sequester carbon and improve soil quality, farming in a way that limits soil disturbance and creating riparian buffers to protect nearby waterways from pollutants.

The funding President Biden announced includes an unprecedented US$1.1 billion investment across 81 projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which takes a voluntary approach to expand the reach of conservation efforts and climate-smart agriculture through public-private partnerships.

The announcement also includes fiscal year 2023 investments from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that are helping farmers adopt climate-smart agriculture practices.

Through IRA, USDA has enrolled more farmers and more acres in voluntary conservation programs than at any point in history, following a backlog that has existed for years.

In 2023, USDA enrolled nearly 5,300 additional producers in conservation programs across all 50 states (above what otherwise would have been possible through Farm Bill and appropriations funding), which will provide significant climate mitigation benefits.

President Biden’s announcement includes US$100 million through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP); US$250 million through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP); and US$250 million through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

US$1.1 billion in Investments in Rural American Infrastructure

USDA is announcing US$1.1 billion across 104 loan- and grant awards to upgrade infrastructure in rural communities that will bring new jobs, clean water, and fuel, and reliable electricity to people in nearly every state.

This funding includes US$5 million from the IRA to further increase the availability of renewable, homegrown biofuels.

The announcement is part of President Biden’s Investing in America efforts to rebuild the physical infrastructure of the country to grow the economy for decades to come, create good-paying jobs, and better position rural America to compete in a global economy.

US$2 billion in Investments to partner with rural communities

USDA is announcing $2 billion across 99 economic development projects in Rural Partners Network (RPN) communities in nine states and Puerto Rico – funding that will create jobs and build infrastructure as well as increase access to quality health care, affordable housing, and clean water and energy.

RPN is transforming the way the federal government partners with rural communities by putting federal employees on the ground to help rural communities access federal resources.

Last year, the Biden-Harris Administration launched to help connect all rural communities to federal resources.

Now the Administration announced it is piloting a new resource clearinghouse function on with funding opportunities for rural communities to facilitate access to federal programs.

US$274 million to expand critical rural high-speed internet infrastructure

USDA is announcing nearly US$274 million across 16 grant and loan awards to expand access to high-speed internet for people living and working across eight states.

These investments include US$260 million as part of the fourth round of the ReConnect Program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provided a total of US$65 billion to ensure every American has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.

In total, the Biden-Harris Administration is investing US$90 billion to deliver affordable high-speed internet to everyone in America, including in rural communities that often lack access to high-speed internet.

US$145 million to expand access to renewable energy and lower energy costs for rural Americans

USDA is announcing US$145 million in funding for 700 loan- and grant awards through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to help agricultural producers and rural small business owners make energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy investments to lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resiliency of their operations.

This funding is made possible in part by President Biden’s IRA – the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis.

These announcements build on billions of dollars in investments the Biden-Harris Administration has already made to support rural America, including through expanding access to markets and increasing competition for farmers and producers.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA has committed US$1 billion to expand independent meat and poultry processing capacity to give farmers more market options and fairer prices and reduce reliance on a small handful of large meat and poultry corporations.

USDA has also made available US$900 million to spur the production of independent, American-made fertilizer, create jobs in rural America, and give farmers more options.

These investments were funded in part by the President’s American Rescue Plan and USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation.

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