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Courtney Hosts USDA Grant and Loan Program Seminars for Local Leaders

March 10, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) concluded two days of seminars designed to inform local leaders in eastern Connecticut about grant opportunities available through the USDA-Rural Development Direct Loan & Grant Programs. At events held in Dayville and Colchester, Congressman Courtney discussed the loan program which supported $38.6 million in loans and $5.2 million in grants in Connecticut’s Second Congressional District last year. That funding helped to launch several projects such as expanding the municipal sewer system in Deep River, purchasing new emergency room equipment at Day Kimball Hospital, and building a new fire house in the East Putnam Fire District, among others.

“This was a great opportunity to speak directly with local selectmen, fire chiefs, nonprofits, and other community leaders from across the district about the benefits of working with the USDA-Rural Development program,” said Courtney. “All too often, rural communities do not have access to the credit necessary to begin long-term projects like bridges, schools, or municipal complexes, and these loans and grants provided through the USDA ensure eastern Connecticut towns do not get left behind. During the reauthorization of the Farm Bill in 2014, I worked hard to maintain rural development eligibility in Connecticut by ensuring the definition of rural included small communities in Eastern Connecticut. I want to thank all of our local leaders who came out to learn more about the grant program, and I look forward to working with them to obtain additional grant funding for our district this year. ”

The 2014 Farm Bill extended current rural definitions through the 2020 Census and increased the population threshold to 35,000. The USDA plans to allow villages and census designate areas to apply for rural development loans on their own, and towns do not need a credit rating to apply. The Norwich Area USDA Rural Development office is located in at 238 West Town Street, Norwich, CT 06360.

Courtney held the first of two seminars on Wednesday, March 9 at NECCOG Office in Dayville. The second seminar was held today (Thursday, March 10) at Colchester Town Hall. Roughly 40 local leaders representing 18 towns from across the Second Congressional District took part in the two day event.