USDA to Give Priority Funding for Regional Economic Development Projects

  • USDA
MEMPHIS, TN – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA's plan to implement a Farm Bill provision that will have a major policy impact on the way the Department helps rural communities plan and finance regional economic development strategies. The new Regional Development Priority (RDP) policy will make it easier for rural communities to access resources to invest in long-term community development efforts by giving priority to applications for Rural Development programs that include regional partnerships and strategies.

"Regional planning maximizes the effectiveness of our investments in rural America," Vilsack said "When communities come together to share resources, ideas and expertise, they can develop a cohesive economy strategy and invest in their future. With a strategy in place, USDA-funded projects can spur regional economic transformation, increase job opportunities and improve quality of life for rural communities."

Under the RDP, communities with multi-jurisdictional economic development plans will be able to request funding priority when they apply for loans and grants in four key USDA programs. These programs help finance a variety of infrastructure, business and community development needs. They are:

  • Community Facilities Program

  • Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program

  • Water and Environmental Program and

  • Rural Business Development Grant Program


Applicants seeking priority consideration will be judged by (1) how well their funding request supports a region's existing development plan, and (2) how well the plan addresses regional collaboration and considers other funding sources including philanthropic groups and other federal agencies. Projects that receive funding will be based on locally identified needs and growth strategies that capitalize upon a region's unique strengths.

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