“USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures,” Hazlett said. “All people – regardless of their zip code – need modern, reliable infrastructure to thrive, and we have found that when we address this need, many other challenges in rural places become much more manageable.”
Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. To apply or for more information they can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, contact Missouri’s State Office at (573) 876-0995, or contact a local Area Specialist.
USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
USDA’s latest investment of $164 million provides funding for 54 projects in 24 states across the nation. In Missouri, the City of Elsberry is receiving a $2,954,000 loan and a $605,000 grant to upgrade the city’s existing wastewater treatment system which includes lagoon modification, infrastructure development, and treatment plant construction. The existing four-cell lagoon was built in the 1940’s and is no longer meets the needs of Elsberry’s 825 residents. Missouri’s Department of Economic Development will also contribute $500,000 to this project through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
“USDA is pursuing an ambitious agenda to rebuild rural America’s infrastructure,” said Jeff Case, Missouri State Director for USDA Rural Development. “We are pleased to assist the City of Elsberry improve the quality of life for their citizens by improving their wastewater treatment system. Likewise, USDA is pleased to partner with agencies, such as the Missouri Department of Economic Development, to be able to adequately fund infrastructure projects throughout the state, ultimately making it more affordable for the rural citizens of Missouri.”
In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.