Farm Bill Enables Record USDA Investments in Rural Water Systems

The USDA celebrated Earth Day by announcing its largest investment to date in rural water and wastewater systems.

Nearly $387 million is being awarded to 116 recipients in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The department is providing $150 million in grants through the 2014 Farm Bill, plus $237 million in loans and grants from USDA’s Water and Environmental Program.

“Having reliable, clean and safe water is essential for any community to thrive and grow,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I am proud that USDA helps build rural communities from the ground up by supporting water infrastructure projects like these. I am especially proud that we can help communities that are struggling economically and those that have urgent health and safety concerns due to their failing water systems.”

Sixteen of the Earth Day projects are in areas of persistent poverty. Twenty-nine are in communities served by the USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative For Rural Growth And Opportunity, a USDA initiative to reduce poverty by increasing investments in rural communities through intensive outreach and stronger partnerships with community leaders, businesses, foundations and other groups that are working to combat poverty.

Climate change is putting more stress on municipal water systems. Many areas around the country have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, declines in snowpack, intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. All of these are placing fiscal strains on communities, causing them to make more frequent (and often more expensive) repairs and upgrades.

Among projects funded this year, the city of McCrory, Ark., is receiving $2.1 million to build a water treatment facility and two water supply wells and refurbish its two water storage tanks. The improvements will reduce high manganese and iron levels in the water supply to provide safe drinking water to McCrory’s nearly 800 residents. McCrory is in Woodruff County, a persistent poverty area that is part of USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative For Rural Growth And Opportunity.

Paintsville, Ky., is receiving a $4.9 million loan and $2.1 million grant to rehabilitate its sanitary and stormwater sewer systems. This is one of 10 projects funded by USDA that will improve water infrastructure in rural areas of Kentucky. The Paintsville project will serve nearly 2,300 residents and businesses and protect the ecosystems of Paint Creek and nearby lakes.

The city of San Joaquin, Calif., is receiving a $1 million loan/grant combination to replace a contaminated well. The city had to shut down one of its three wells due to high levels of bacteria. Once completed, this project will ensure San Joaquin residents have clean drinking water.

In Ohio, the Erie County Commissioners will use $3 million in loans and nearly $3 million in grants to replace individual on-site waste treatment systems that discharge into and pollute the Sandusky Bay and surrounding areas. The commissioners also will build a wastewater collection system for the Village of Bay View and the neighboring Bay Bridge area. The Bay View peninsula is a vital ecological and economic area in the Western Basin of Lake Erie.

Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has expanded to include citizens and governments in more than 195 countries. President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment in rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way.

The USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Source: USDA

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Triathlon BA container shot

May 24, 2016

OHP’s Triathlon Biofungicide Now Listed By The Organic …

Triathlon BA is a broad-spectrum preventative biofungicide that provides control of many foliar and soilborne diseases in ornamentals and herbs.

Read More
Costa Farms won International Grower of the Year. Representing the operation, (left to right) were Chuck Zala, Michael Vera, Menachem Ganon, Jose Costa, and Mike Rimland

May 24, 2016

AIPH Seeking Entries For Its International Grower of th…

The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) is inviting ornamental growers from all around the world to enter the AIPH International Grower of the Year Awards (IGOTY) for 2017. Last year’s big winner was Florida-based Costa Farms.

Read More
Coleus Fancy Feathers Pink (Terra Nova Nurseries)

May 23, 2016

Take A Sneak Peek at Terra Nova Nurseries’ New Coleus F…

A brand-new collection of Terra Nova Nurseries coleus varieties called the Fancy Feathers Series is now available to growers for online orders. The series produces narrow, feather-like leaves and offers a mounded habit.

Read More
Gotham Greens Atrium Style Greenhouse Chicago

May 23, 2016

What’s Good For The Environment Is Good For Business [O…

Investing in technology to become more sustainable “always goes hand in hand,” says Abe VanWingerden, co-CEO of Metrolina Greenhouses. “If it is good for the environment, it normally is good for business over the long term.” That connection was abundantly clear in the responses we received to this year’s Top 100 Growers Survey. VanWingerden points to three investments Metrolina has made as good examples of how technology can reduce an operation’s carbon footprint and pay dividends financially. Its biomass system burns locally sourced waste wood — a renewable resource; its ozone water treatment system cleans irrigation water, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and improving plant quality and precision growing; and electrostatic sprayers reduce water and chemical use, and provide more targeted chemical applications. Other Top 100 Growers have found VanWingerden’s theory to be true, as well. Costa Farms’ investment in solar energy panels on three buildings at its […]

Read More

May 23, 2016

Ian Baldwin Sees Several Garden Trends Developing This …

The garden industry consultant reads the mid-spring tea leaves and sees several trends emerging.

Read More

May 23, 2016

Manhattan’s Urban Garden Center Suffers Second Di…

Two years after a nearby gas explosion destroyed the store in Manhattan's Spanish Harlem, Urban Garden Center had a four-alarm fire that disrupted a popular train route, and the garden retailer is now dealing with an angry community.

Read More
Aerial_view_of_the_Bayer_cross_high_res

May 23, 2016

Bayer Sells Consumer Garden Products Division To French…

The sale to SBM Développement comes just as Bayer AG makes a bid for Monsanto.

Read More
GG Tech Editorial Advisors Feature Image

May 23, 2016

Meet The New Editorial Advisors For Greenhouse Growe…

Greenhouse Grower TECHNOLOGY presents the inaugural members of its Editorial Advisory Board, six pillars of knowledge about greenhouse automation and technology. Get to know each of these gentlemen and what they’ll help bring to each issue.

Read More
Pythium On Chrysanthemum

May 20, 2016

How To Prevent Pythium In Fall Garden Mums

Avoid profit loss in fall garden mums due to pythium root rot with good drainage and integrated pest management practices that reduce risk factors.

Read More
Agro-K

May 19, 2016

Agro-K Expands Distribution In New England Through Part…

Agro-K, which manufactures conventional and organic foliar plant nutrients, will distribute its full line of foliar fertilizers and soil biological products through NEAG.

Read More
Stained poinsettia foliage from high iron

May 19, 2016

Minimize Build-up In Your Water Pipes

This article is the third in a series of case studies designed to help growers reduce, remediate, and recycle irrigation water as part of a multi-state research grant (CleanWateR3.org).

Read More

May 17, 2016

Your Best Greenhouse Is Your Best Bet For Growing Veget…

It doesn’t matter if it’s a retrofitted greenhouse or brand new freestanding high tunnel, the type of structure you use for your vegetable growing makes all the difference in the quality of the crop you grow.

Read More
rain on flowers weather FEATURE

May 16, 2016

Industry Consultants Say Early Sales Are Bolstering Poo…

It's been a roller coaster of a spring. Three garden retail consultants, who remain in close touch with more than a hundred garden stores collectively, report on what their clients are experiencing.

Read More
Top 100 Drone Image Feature

May 16, 2016

Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers Talk Technolo…

The Top 100 Growers are already by nature some of the most technologically advanced greenhouse operations, due to their sheer size and need for efficiency. Many of the largest growers also serve big box merchandisers and home improvement chains, where prices are dictated, so producing plants at the lowest possible cost is essential to growers not only staying in business, but also profiting and expanding their operations. This year’s survey focused on the automation and technology the Top 100 Growers are investing in, and how these advancements have improved their operations, as well as how they have affected growers’ labor issues. We also asked growers about how they’re solving labor issues, where they’re recruiting new hires, and how they’re keeping their people committed. Lean management programs and sustainability certifications have become higher priorities in the past several years, due to growers’ needs to run efficiently and focus attention on sustainable […]

Read More
Sporticulture Chicago Draft Flowers

May 16, 2016

Sporticulture’s NFL-Themed Plants Featured At 2016 NFL …

The company’s plants were used as centerpieces in several locales, offering national exposure for Sporticulture’s team flower program.

Read More
pond water management

May 16, 2016

Pinpoint Toxicity In Your Pond Water

This article is the second in a series of case studies designed to help growers reduce, remediate, and recycle irrigation water as part of a multi-state research grant (CleanWateR3.org).

Read More
Rotary Botanical Gardens, Wisconsin

May 16, 2016

All-America Selections Summer Summit In Madison, WI, Wi…

Registration is now open for the 2016 Summer Summit, which takes place in August and features a focus on the locally grown movement.

Read More
One symptom of Botrytis blight is gray, fuzzy sporulation on foliage and flowers, similar to that shown on the flower of this hibiscus

May 16, 2016

In-Store Plant Care Tips To Teach Your Staff

With the spring season still fresh on our minds, now is the time to reflect on some common disease and pest problems that occur in the garden center, recognize which problems touched your store, and identify solutions to quickly treat and control these problems in the future. Ideal solutions for the retail environment will be fast and effective with a short REI, have labels including edibles and ornamentals, present no or minimal odor and residue, bring no risk of burn or other phyto, and will not present a residual bee hazard. It’s a tall order, but we have solutions that fit the bill for some of the most common diseases and pests. The main foliar disease encountered in garden centers is Botrytis. This ubiquitous disease requires humid/moist conditions and can attack both dying and healthy foliage and floral tissue, producing characteristic gray, fluffy sporulation. Botrytis attacks healthy tissue with as […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]