DES MOINES – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently announced USDA is awarding grants for 128 projects to increase access to job training (PDF, 351 KB), educational and health care services in rural areas. Five of the projects are assisting rural Iowa communities and includes Clarke County Hospital.
“Empowering rural Americans with access to services for quality of life and economic development is critical to rural prosperity,” Perdue said. “Distance learning and telemedicine technology bridges the gap that often exists between rural communities and essential education, workforce training and health care resources.”
USDA is awarding $39.6 million through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program with nearly $1.5 million being awarded to projects in Iowa. More than 4.5 million residents in 40 states and three territories will benefit from the funding.
Clarke County Hospital in Osceola is receiving a $314,743 grant to upgrade and extend the video distance learning network in southern Iowa to support the hospital’s efforts to address childhood trauma. The hospital will use distance learning for professional development and educational programs for students, family members and the community at large. Eleven schools will be linked to the network, serving a population of 9,986.
Mercy Foundation of Des Moines is receiving a $92,826 grant to assist Mercy Foundation of Des Moines in addressing opioid misuse through the purchase and installation of interactive telemedicine equipment allowing access to two high-need specialties, cardiology and psychiatry. This project implements a telehealth network at nine healthcare facilities in nine southern Iowa counties to increase access to healthcare resources delivering treatment to opioid dependent persons, opioid training to medical professionals and training psychiatric residents in tele-psychology. The project will serve more than 6,189 rural patients annually.
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, Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to 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.
To view the report in its entirety, go to www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/rural-prosperity-report.pdf. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, go to www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/rural-task-force-infographic.pdf.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.
Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/ia or by calling 515-284-4663.