FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Monday that it would invest $20 million to improve quality of life for people in rural Arkansas.
USDA Secretary Xochitl Torres Small was joined by Arkansas Sen. John Boozman for a roundtable discussion at the Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville where the announcement was made.
“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is committed to ensuring rural Americans have access to the essential services they need to thrive, and that they can get those resources in the communities they call home,” Torres Small said.
“Thanks to leaders like Senator Boozman, projects like these will empower people with modern infrastructure, create good jobs and build a successful future for all,” Torres Small added.
The investment will be divided into six specific areas of need, including the Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program, Rural Decentralized Water Systems Grant Program, Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program, Community Facilities Emergency Rural Health Care, Business & Industry Loan Guarantees and Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance Grants.
Access to modern water and wastewater systems are a focus of the funding.
The USDA says it hopes the investment will help rural Arkansans start businesses and allow small business owners to expand and grow, as well as help individuals and families construct and buy their own homes in rural Arkansas.
The investment will help fund multiple projects, including a $5 million project to build a new clinic for 1st Choice Healthcare in Pocahontas, $7.4 million for a water system extension in Mountainburg and $405,000 to provide financing for a nonprofit that will construct 15 homes for low-income families in rural Crawford, Franklin and Sebastian counties.