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CDFA Rural Development Finance Update - August 17, 2021

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Rural Development Finance Update
August 17, 2021
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Rural Development Finance Update


Best Practices for Rural Development Finance Agencies
How do you find a development finance agency that is the right fit for your rural community? Tune in on Tuesday, August 31 at 2:00 PM Eastern for a free webinar on best practices of development finance agencies to help you identify the right partner for your projects.

$500M in Emergency Rural Health Care Funding Available Through American Rescue Plan
The USDA is making up to $500 million available in grants to help rural health care facilities, tribes, and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services, and nutrition assistance. These funds may be used to increase vaccine distribution and telehealth capabilities; purchase medical supplies; replace revenue lost during the pandemic; build structures for health care services; and support operations expenses associated with food banks and food distribution facilities.

What's in the Infrastructure Bill for Rural America?
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act offers many important provisions that those in rural America were seeking. The bill authorizes $303.5 billion from the Highway Trust Fund for roads and bridges; creates a competitive grant program to address the surface transportation infrastructure of rural communities; authorizes the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success or ROUTES initiative; $65 billion for broadband financing; and funding for rural schools and more.

Next Infrastructure Challenge: Fixing Rural Cellphone Service
If the bipartisan infrastructure package that passed the Senate becomes law, many of the nation's most remote communities might finally get connected to the Internet through fiber-optic cables. But rural telecom companies say even fiber links won't fix another big communications problem in their communities — a lack of cellphone towers that leaves many residents and first-responders with extremely poor mobile service.

I-80 Fund Expands Loan Opportunities in Rural Nevada
Nevada Gold Mines started the I-80 Fund during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide loans to small businesses hurt by the pandemic, but the revolving loan fund now covers business needs for any reason – not just COVID-19 impact. The successful fund can now operate well into the future with loan payments coming back to the I-80 Fund to in turn support new loans.

USDA Invests $167M in High-Speed Broadband in 12 States
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $167 million in 12 states to deploy broadband infrastructure in rural areas without sufficient access to high-speed internet. The investments being announced are part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.

Oregon Law Expands Access to Capital for Rural and Disadvantaged Businesses
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed a bill to help underserved business owners access capital more easily. The law creates two funds — $10 million each — to help historically disadvantaged business owners get loans. The fund provides a backstop to community lenders who work with small businesses that face barriers getting conventional loans, such as living in a rural community or someone who is a business owner of color.

USDA Invests $14M in Rural Economic Development Projects in 10 States
USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Through this program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities. The utilities then lend funds to local businesses for projects that create and retain employment in rural areas. Eligible applicants are USDA's Electric Program and Telecom Program borrowers.

Upcoming Events
CDFA Federal Financing Webinar Series: Investing in Critical Community Facilities

CDFA Rural Development Finance Webinar Series: Best Practices for Rural Development Finance Agencies
Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Eastern
During the third installment of the CDFA Rural Development Finance Webinar Series, discover best practices of development finance agencies to help you identify the right partner for your projects.

Intro Tax Credit Finance WebCourse
September 29-30, 2021 - Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
The Intro Tax Credit Finance WebCourse examines the application of tax credit programs in greater economic development finance efforts. This course discusses the practical application of tax credit programs including brownfields, new markets, low-income housing, historic preservation, and state-specific programs.

USDA Rural Development News

Rural Alabama Receives $495K Investment from USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development announced that the USDA is investing grants totaling $495,055 to support entrepreneurs and businesses in five rural Alabama counties, creating approximately 235 jobs. This program is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses.

Vilsack Announces $67M to Help Resolve Land Succession Issues
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA is providing $67 million in competitive loans to CDFIs through the new Heirs' Property Relending Program (HPRP). Vilsack says intermediary lenders such as cooperatives, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations can apply for loans up to $5 million at 1% interest to relend to socially disadvantaged producers and beginning farmers.

USDA Opens Applications for Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program provides loans and grants to a non-profit entity, tribe, or institution of higher education as a Microenterprise Development Organization to establish revolving loan funds to provide loans to rural microloan borrowers and microentrepreneurs. The funds also may be used to provide training and technical assistance to microentrepreneurs.

USDA's New Guide Aims to Help Stimulate Employment in Rural Areas
A new guide put together by a unit of the Agriculture Department aims to help spur employment in rural areas. Its resource guide includes sources of funding available from the USDA itself. Farah Ahmad, chief of staff for Rural Development at USDA, joined the podcast Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk more about the program.

House Agriculture Committee Approves $43B Bill for USDA Broadband Programs
The House Agriculture Committee unanimously advanced a bipartisan bill Wednesday authorizing $43 billion to expand rural broadband service nationwide by dramatically increasing USDA's expiring loan and grant program. The Broadband Internet Connections for Rural America Act would authorize $4.5 billion in annual funding starting in fiscal year 2022.

Rural Development Finance News

The Inside Story of COVID-Crushed Small Businesses and Their Comeback Hopes
Bankrate | Aug. 17 | Access to Capital | Disaster Recovery & Relief | Federal | Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) | Rural Development | COVID-19

Ports in 2 Washington Counties Awarded $2M for Rural Broadband Projects
Union-Bulletin | Aug. 15 | Infrastructure Finance | Rural Development | State Finance Program

Bipartisan Bill Would Expand SBA Loan Program to Include Fintech Lenders
Banking Dive | Aug. 13 | Access to Capital | Federal | Legislative | Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) | Rural Development | U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Driving Investment Into Texas' Rural Opportunity Zones
TEDC | Aug. 13 | Opportunity Zones | Rural Development

Gov. Pritzker Announces $250M Back to Business Grant Program in Illinois
The Southland Journal | Aug. 12 | Access to Capital | Disaster Recovery & Relief | Economic Development | Rural Development | State Finance Program | COVID-19

Utah Bedding Company Expanding Headquarters, Adds 4,200 New Jobs
ABC 4 | Aug. 12 | Economic Development | Public-Private Partnership (P3) Financing | Rural Development | Tax Credits | Tax Increment Finance (TIF)

Affordable Housing Development to be Renovated in Grand Junction, CO
Grand Junction Sentinel | Aug. 12 | Bond Finance | Housing Finance | Rural Development

Why Rural America Is Key to Climate Change Policy
Green Biz | Aug. 11 | Energy Finance | Federal | Green Finance | Resiliency | Rural Development | Water Finance

Senate Passes $1T Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
The New York Times | Aug. 11 | Economic Development | Energy Finance | Infrastructure Finance | Legislative | Resiliency | Rural Development | Urban Development | Water Finance

Farm Groups Praise the Infrastructure Bill
The Fence Post | Aug. 10 | Agriculture Finance | Federal | Infrastructure Finance | Legislative | Rural Development

Norton, MA Voters Support Tax Break for New Business
The Sun Chronicle | Aug. 10 | Economic Development | Redevelopment | Rural Development | Tax Increment Finance (TIF)

New Loan Fund Created for Workforce Housing
McCook Gazette | Aug. 5 | Community Development | Housing Finance | Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) | Rural Development

Small Businesses Recover Through New Sources of Capital
Yahoo! Finance | Aug. 3 | Access to Capital | Disaster Recovery & Relief | Economic Development | Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) | Rural Development | COVID-19

How Georgia Economic Developers Help Create Jobs, Incentives to Bring Major Employers
The Augusta Chronicle | Aug. 3 | Economic Development | Incentives | Rural Development | Tax Credits | Tax Increment Finance (TIF)

Bluestone Family Practice Opens in Downtown Bluefield, WV
Bluefield Daily Telegraph | Aug. 2 | Brownfield Financing | Community Development | Healthcare | Rural Development | Social Finance | Health

Supermarket Tax Credit Act Introduced to Address Food Deserts
The Fort Morgan Times | Jul. 28 | Food Systems Finance | Legislative | Rural Development | Tax Credits

Amsterdam, NY Finalizing Plans for Brownfields
The Recorder | Jul. 21 | Brownfield Financing | Community Development | Rural Development

CDFA Resources

USDA Resource Guide for Rural Workforce Development
Access to Capital | Agriculture Finance | Community Development | Economic Development | Federal | Food Systems Finance | Housing Finance | Infrastructure Finance | Innovation Finance | Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) | Rural Development | Tribal Finance | Urban Development
America's rural workforce provides a vital foundation for the nation's economy . Rural America supplies the nation's food and energy resources, and the fiber necessary for goods and manufacturing . As USDA continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and help restore the economy, we remain committed to supporting rural employers and job seekers to rebuild rural America's workforce better, stronger and more equitably than ever before .

Enhancing Local Workforce Development and Building for the Future
Access to Capital | Organizational Management | Public-Private Partnership (P3) Financing | Rural Development | Social Finance | Webcasts
Automation, shifting demographics, COVID-19 and increased telework opportunities are reshaping the workforce landscape amid shifting industry needs. Counties, through local and regional partnerships and workforce development boards, are working with public, private, and nonprofit partners to help train job seekers and connect them with local employers.

The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) is a national association dedicated to the advancement of development finance concerns and interests. CDFA is comprised of the nation's leading and most knowledgeable members of the development finance community representing public, private and non-profit entities alike. For more information, visit www.CDFA.net or email info@cdfa.net.

Council of Development Finance Agencies
100 E. Broad Street, Suite 1200
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 705-1300


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