The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is a federal agency that provides funding assistance to local governments, tribes, organizations, businesses, and citizens to promote economic development.
The overall mission of the USDA Rural Development is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for all rural Americans. Rural Development has three program areas – Housing, Community and Business. The agency’s housing loans and grants make a significant difference in the lives of many people across the country. These investments also boost rural economies and create and save jobs. Since the agency’s founding in 1990, Rural Development continues to provide services to make rural communities healthy and prosperous places to live and work.
USDA Rural Development has national offices and numerous local offices serving the unique needs of all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Pacific territories. In Louisiana, there are four area offices located in Monroe, Natchitoches, Lafayette and Amite that focus on housing and community programs. The Business and Industry Program is administered at the State Office in Alexandria. Each of these area offices is led by a director and equipped with specialists and technicians, along with the assistance of State Office program personnel, to accomplish the USDA Rural Development’s mission. Their working methods involve servicing, direct community engagement and various marketing initiatives.
USDA Rural Development has partnered with many types of entities in Louisiana, including foundations, nonprofits, communities, homeowners, cooperatives, farmers, public and private organizations, businesses and lenders, local governments and Native American tribes. This outreach and collaboration supports their work to improve rural communities, keeping them vibrant, healthy and sustainable places for Louisianans to live and work. Together, they incorporate a variety of approaches to more effectively reach communities, such as meetings, conferences, media and partnerships with other organizations and agencies.
Through federal funding received for their programs and services, USDA Rural Development administers direct, guaranteed loans and grants to assist, improve and stimulate rural economies throughout the state. USDA Rural Development loans are available for single and multi-family housing; water and wastewater system improvements; business and economic development ventures; renewable energy initiatives; and essential community facilities.
The work of Rural Development has tangible beneficial outcomes that help foster more resilient communities. With assistance from USDA Rural Development, families and communities throughout the state are becoming new homeowners with decent, affordable and safe places to live. The Business and Cooperative Programs have assisted small business owners by providing necessary financial and technical assistance, job training and business development for rural residents in Louisiana. The Community Programs provide critical infrastructure to develop essential services, such as medical clinics, schools, emergency services, police stations and public buildings. Rural Development also plays an important role in providing safe water and utilities to rural communities.
USDA Rural Development has a national mission to improve rural communities. Its programs, grants and loans are available to residents, businesses and communities all across the country through their respective state Rural Development offices.