Hoeven Hosts USDA Under Secretary at Rural Development Roundtable

As Member of Ag, Appropriations Committees, Senator Working to Build Rural Communities

WAHPETON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven and Senator Heidi Heitkamp, along with local directors for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, today hosted Robert Bonnie, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at a rural development roundtable in Wahpeton with state and local officials.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture and Appropriations Committees, Hoeven continues working to support rural development programs and to grow North Dakota’s rural communities. The senator also served on the Senate-House Conference Committee that negotiated the final version of the new five-year farm bill, which includes programs in support of rural communities.

“We’ve been working to ensure that North Dakotans, regardless of their zip code, have opportunities and the support they need to build vibrant communities,” Hoeven said. “The economic wellbeing of all our citizens depends on a healthy rural economy.”

As a member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Hoeven worked to support USDA rural development programs including:

Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program –The RCDG program awards competitive grants to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals or entities in the startup, expansion, or improvement of rural cooperatives and other businesses.

Community Facility Guarantee Program – The community facilities program provides loan guarantees to local governments and nonprofits to construct, enlarge or improve community facilities for health care, public safety and public services in rural areas and towns with populations up to 20,000.

Community Facilities Loan and Grant Programs, Tribal College and University Grants – This program provides tribal colleges and universities with funding for critically needed infrastructure improvements, to purchase needed equipment and to develop essential community facilities.

Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Programs – The DLT program provides grants for advanced telecommunications technologies to develop enhanced learning and health care opportunities for rural residents.

Additionally, last week, Hoeven met with Lisa Mensah, who has been nominated to serve as USDA’s Under Secretary for Rural Development. The senator stressed the importance of ensuring rural housing assistance programs are available to help growing North Dakota communities.