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Administrator, Rural Utilities Service
and Stockyards Administration Assistant Secretary for Administration
WARDELL TOWNSEND, JR. Deputy Assistant Secretary
ANNE THOMSON REED Chairman, Board of Contract Appeals EDWARD HOURY Judicial Officer
WILLIAM G. JENSON Chief Judge, Administrative Law Judges VICTOR PALMER Director, Office of Operations
IRA L. HOBBS Director, Civil Rights
GEORGE ROBERTSON, Acting
HOLLACE TWINING, Acting
IRWIN T. DAVID, Acting
IRWIN T. DAVID General Counsel
JAMES GILLILAND Deputy General Counsel
BONNIE LUKEN Inspector General
ROGER VIADERO Deputy Inspector General
JOYCE FEISCHMAN Director, Office of Communications
ALI WEBB Chief Economist
STEPHEN B. DEWHURST
Business Utilization [For the Department of Agriculture statement of organization, see the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7, Part 2)
The Department of Agriculture works to improve and maintain farm income and to develop and expand markets abroad for agricultural products. The Department helps to curb and to cure poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. It works to enhance the environment and to maintain production capacity by helping landowners protect the soil, water, forests, and other natural resources. Rural development, credit, and conservation programs are key resources for carrying out national growth policies. Department research findings directly or indirectly benefit all Americans. The Department, through inspection and grading services, safeguards and ensures standards of quality in the daily food supply.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA)
(5 U.S.C. 511, 514, 516). By act of February 9, 1889 (7 U.S.C. 2202, 2208, 2212), the powers and duties of the Department were enlarged. The
Department was made the eighth executive department in the Federal Government, and the Commissioner became the Secretary of Agriculture. The Department was reorganized under the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6901 note).
In carrying out its work in the program mission areas, USDA relies on the support of departmental administration staff, as well as the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Communications, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, Office of Inspector General, and the Office of the General Counsel.
The rural development mission of USDA is to assist rural Americans in using their abilities to improve their quality of life. To accomplish this mission requires the fostering of new cooperative relationships among Government, industry, and communities. Three agencies carry out this mission and report to the Under Secretary for Rural Development: the Rural Housing Service, which includes rural housing and rural community facility loan and grant programs; the Rural BusinessCooperative Service, which includes business and cooperative development programs; and the Rural Utilities Service, which includes telephone, electric, water, and sewer programs. There are approximately 1,580 rural development field offices that provide frontline delivery of all rural development loan and grant programs at the local level.
needs in underserved areas. The major programs of RBS include commercial lending, revolving loan funds, and technical assistance, empowerment program, and cooperative services. The business loan and grant programs include: Business and Industrial Guaranteed Loans These loans are used to improve, develop, or finance business, industry, and employment, and to improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities, including pollution abatement and control. This purpose is achieved through bolstering the existing private credit structure through guarantee of quality loans which will provide lasting community benefits. This type of assistance is available to businesses located in areas outside any city with a population of 50,000 or more and its immediate adjacent urbanized or urbanizing area. Eligible entities include corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, recognized Indian tribes, individuals, and other legal entities. Intermediary Relending Program Loans These loans are used to finance business facilities and community development projects in rural areas including cities with populations of less than 25,000. This is achieved through loans made by RBS to intermediaries which provide loans to ultimate recipients for business facilities and community development projects. Eligible intermediaries include public bodies, nonprofit corporations, indian tribes, and cooperatives. Rural Business Enterprise Grants These grants help public bodies, nonprofit corporations, and federally recognized
Rural Business-Cooperative Service The mission of the Rural BusinessCooperative Service (RBS) is to enhance the quality of life for all rural Americans by providing leadership in building competitive businesses and cooperatives that can prosper in the global trading marketplace.
The Service was established by Public Law 103–354 to carry out principal programs under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1921 et seq.) and the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5901 et seq.).
Business programs are usually leveraged with cooperatives and private sector lenders to meet business credit
Indian tribal groups finance and facilitate development of small and emerging private business enterprises located in areas outside the boundary of a city of 50,000 or more and its immediate adjacent urbanized or urbanizing area. Costs that may be paid from grant funds include: acquisition and development of land; construction of buildings; plans development; equipment purchases; construction of access streets, roads, and parking areas; construction of utility and service extensions; refinancing; fees for professional services; technical assistance and training associated with technical assistance; startup operating costs and working capital; previewing financial assistance to a third party; production of television programs to provide information to rural residents; and creation, expansion, and operation of rural distance learning networks. Rural Technology and Cooperative Development Grants These grants help finance the establishment and operation of centers for rural technology and/or cooperative development, in order to improve the economic conditions of rural areas by promoting the development and commercialization of new services, products, processes, and enterprises in rural areas. For this program, rural areas are defined as areas outside the boundary of a city with a population of 50,000 or more and its immediate adjacent urbanized or urbanizing area. Eligible applicants are public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Indian tribal groups. Local Technical Assistance and Planning Grants These grants provide funding for local technical assistance and planning activities in rural areas to improve economic conditions. Grants may be used for: technical assistance and training for small businesses; identifying and analyzing business opportunities in rural areas; establishing business support centers; conducting local or multicounty economic development planning; coordination of economic development activities; and leadership development training of local government officials. Grants are
available to public bodies and nonprofit organizations. Grants may be used to assist rural areas and any city or town with a population of 10,000 or less. Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants These loans and grants finance rural economic development and rural job creation projects that are based on sound economic and financial analyses. Loans and grants are made to electric and telephone borrowers who use the funds to provide financing for business and community development projects. Loans are provided to finance a broad array of projects, including for-profit businesses. Grants are targeted for certain purposes such as: community development assistance; education and training for economic development; medical care; telecommunications for education; job training; business incubators, and other technical assistance. Borrowers may receive financing for grant purposes through either a grant to establish a revolving loan fund or a combination loan and grant. Empowerment Program The Empowerment Program initiative is designed to develop and maintain programs to identify Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Communities, AmeriCorps, and other Presidential initiatives to support rural development through the selection of areas of greatest need. The Program works with other USDA agencies, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, and private organizations and universities in a combined effort to develop and promote comprehensive community and economic development in rural America. Cooperative Services The Cooperative Services program helps farmers and rural communities become self-reliant through the use of cooperative organizations. Studies are conducted to support cooperatives that market farm products, purchase production supplies, and perform related business services. These studies concentrate on the financial, organizational, legal, social, and economic aspects of cooperative activity. Technical assistance and research is provided to improve cooperative
performance in organizing new cooperatives, merging existing cooperatives, changing business structures, and developing strategies for growth. Applied research is conducted to give farmers and rural communities expert assistance pertaining to their cooperatives.
The program also collects and publishes statistics regarding the role and scope of cooperative activity in the U.S. agriculture. The Service's bimonthly magazine, Rural Cooperatives, reports current developments and research for cooperative management leadership. For further information, contact Rural Development, Office of Communication, Public Affairs, Room 5037-S, Department of Agriculture, Fourteenth Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-0320. Phone, 202-720 6903.
Rural Housing Service The Rural Housing Service (RHS) provides loans to rural residents and communities unable to obtain credit from commercial sources at reasonable rates and terms. These borrowers must have a reasonable chance for success. The Service guarantees loans made by commercial lenders for modest rural housing. It also makes direct loans to low-income rural residents. Rural residents and communities may apply for these loans at approximately 1,580 local Rural Development offices.
The Service operates under Title V of the Housing Act of 1949 (42 U.S.C. 1471) and the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1921). It seeks to do business as the lender of first opportunity rather than the lender of last resort.
The Service provides financial and management assistance through the following types of loans: Guaranteed Single-Family Housing (SFH) Loan Programs The Service guarantees loans made by commercial lenders to moderate-income rural residents. Eligible applicants must have sufficient income and acceptable credit but lack the downpayment to secure a loan without assistance. The Service provides up to 100 percent financing for
eligible borrowers and guarantees participating lenders against most losses. Direct Single-Family Housing Loan Program Section 502 loans are made to very low and low income families for housing in rural areas. Loans can be made to build, purchase, repair, and refinance homes. The maximum term is 38 years. Loans may be made for 100 percent of the appraised value. The basic interest rate is determined periodically, based on the cost of money. Borrowers may qualify for annual subsidy on the loan, which can reduce the interest rate to as low as 1 percent. Cosigners on promissory notes may be permitted for applicants who may lack repayment ability.
Builders may obtain "conditional commitments' as assurances to a builder or seller that if their houses meet RHS lending requirements, RHS may make loans to qualified applicants. Home Improvement and Repair Loans and Grants An owner-occupant may obtain a section 504 loan of up to $15,000, or in the case of senior citizens, a grant of up to $7,500, to remove health and safety hazards from a home. These loans, available to very low income families, are made at 1 percent interest. Self-Help Housing Loans Self-help direct SFH loans assist groups of six to eight very low and low income families to build their own home by providing materials and the skilled labor which they cannot furnish themselves. The families must agree to work together on each other's homes until they are complete. Rates and terms are the same as the direct SFH program. Rural Housing Site Loans Loans are also available to private or public nonprofit organizations to purchase sites for the development of housing for very low and low income families. Loans are repayable in 2 years. Direct Multi-Family Housing Loans Loans are made to private, nonprofit corporations, consumer cooperatives, State or local public agencies, and individuals or organizations operating on a profit or limited profit basis to provide rental or cooperative housing in rural