U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT
USDA Rural Development provides financial programs through loans and a small amount of grants to support the development and improvement of essential public facilities and services such as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities, and electric and telephone service. USDA Rural Development has a number of programs, of which some of the most notable are highlighted below:
- Housing Programs – USDA Rural Development offers a number of programs to help low to moderate income applicants secure and maintain safe, well-built housing. Depending on the specific program the financial assistance is offered either as a direct loan, a loan guarantee, or a grant. These programs are available for rural areas with populations of up to 35,000 and are made directly to families or individuals.
- Community Facilities Program – Through this program, USDA Rural Development offers public bodies, non-profits, and Federally recognized Indian Tribes resources to improve, develop, or finance essential community facilities for rural communities. The financial assistance is offered either as a direct loan, a loan guarantee, or a grant. These programs are available for cities, towns or unincorporated areas of not more than 20,000 in population and where the community facility being improved will primarily benefit and serve rural residents.
- Rural Business Development Grant – This grant program provides resources to help public bodies, government entities, non-profit organizations, and Federally recognized Indian Tribes in assisting with the startup or expansion of a small and emerging private business and/or non-profit in rural communities. This grant program is available to rural areas except cities over 50,000 and their contiguous urbanized areas.
- Intermediary Relending Program Loan – This loan program provides resources for public bodies, non-profits, Native American Tribes, and cooperatives to establish revolving funds for business facilities and community development projects. This program is available to rural areas and incorporated places with populations of less than 50,000.
- Rural Economic Development Program – This direct loan or grant program provides resources to finance economic development and job creation in rural areas. Rural utility service entities are eligible to receive assistance through this program, where priority is given to areas of populations less than 2,500.
- Value-Added Producer Grants – This program provides grant resources to help independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures to enter into activities that add value to their crops.
- Water and Wastewater Programs – USDA Rural Development administers several programs that provide loans and grants to support the construction, repair, or improvement of water systems and waste collection and treatment systems. These programs are available for rural areas and towns with up to 10,000 in population.
- Community Connect Grants – USDA Rural Development provides resources to public bodies, Tribes, cooperatives, non-profits, limited dividend or mutual associations, corporations and other legally organized entities to provide public access to broadband in otherwise unserved communities. This program is administered through grants and is available to communities outside incorporated or unincorporated cities with a population over 20,000 which does not have broadband.
USDA Rural Development administers these programs through six area offices and fourteen field offices across North Carolina.
To learn more about USDA’s Rural Development Programs and to access contact information for the applicable office for your community, please go to http://www.rd.usda.gov/nc.