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USDA’s Rural Partners Network expands to include Puerto Rico

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Advisor, announced the expansion of the Rural Partners Network (RPN) to 17 communities in four more states and Puerto Rico.

RPN is an all-of-government program that partners with rural people to access resources and funding to create local jobs, build infrastructure, and support long-term economic stability on their own terms.

In Puerto Rico, the following towns and areas have been included: Southwest Puerto Rico including the municipalities of Mayagüez, Maricao and Guánica; Central Puerto Rico-Mountainous Region including the municipalities of Utuado, Jayuya, Ciales, Orcovis, Villalba, Ponce, Adjuntas, Barranquitas and Coamo; and the Roosevelt Roads Community Network including Fajardo, Ceiba, and Naguabo and to include El Yunque National Forest.

Today’s announcement ensures that all rural communities can benefit from federal resources, including historic funding provided by the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, government officials said.

“Rural America is full of opportunities, but these vital communities don’t always have a way to navigate federal agencies or access the resources of the government,” said Rice.

“The Rural Partners Network is bringing federal staff directly to rural communities to ensure local leaders have access to federal resources as they build strong and vibrant economies,” she added.

RPN helps establish community networks in rural areas where local leaders and residents collaborate with civic and business organizations, nonprofits, service providers, development agencies and others to create new opportunities and build on the diversity of a region’s population and perspectives.

The Rural Partners Network launched in April 2022 in 14 communities in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Native American communities in Arizona.

Community networks within the included areas will receive on-the-ground support from full-time federal staff members assigned to provide technical assistance tailored to the community’s unique needs and objectives.

These community liaisons live and work in the rural communities they serve, allowing them to develop partnerships with local leaders to promote growth and prosperity for rural families and local communities.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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