USDA announces funds for rural projects in New Mexico
The United States Department of Agriculture announced new funds Monday for three projects in rural New Mexico. The funding is part of a program designed to curb persistent poverty in the rural United States.
The USDA’s Rural Partners Network works with 36 communities in 10 states and Puerto Rico, with USDA employees who live locally to help participating communities navigate federal funding and apply for it.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said having employees in or near the target communities is crucial.
"Many communities, particularly those who have experienced persistent poverty for an extended period of time, simply do not have the resources that allow them to take full advantage of the various programs that a department like the Department of Agriculture has," he said.
New Mexico has three designated areas through the program, including one in Doña Ana County.
Sunland Park in the southern part of that county is receiving nearly a million dollars that will go towards preparation for a “public safety complex”. The town’s mayor told KUNM last year Sunland Park’s resources were strained by the impact from migrants crossing the border. According to the news outlet Border Report, this new complex is a response to that.
New Mexico State University will also receive $100,000 to conduct 12 energy audits to small businesses it works with around the state, with the goal of providing recommendations for energy-efficient improvements.
A $60 million loan will also go to the Farmers’ Electric Cooperative in Clovis in eastern New Mexico, which serves customers on both sides of the border with Texas. The loan will go to connecting over 700 consumers and about $10 million of it will go to smart grid technologies.
This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.