By Scott Bidroski
The USDA - Rural Development Nebraska State Director Kate Bolz paid Sheridan County a visit on Tuesday, July 11.
During her day trip to the Sandhills, Bolz stopped by Open Range Beef, Gordon Memorial Hospital, the City of Gordon, and Farm to Family Cooperative in Hay Springs.
The purpose of the trip was simple; check on the population that is the heartbeat of food, fuel, and fiber in the State of Nebraska.
“We are in Gordon today, both checking in on some of the connections we have made and making new connections,” said Bolz.
“Sometimes Rural America feels like they do not get the attention they deserve so we are making sure that residents are aware of our programs and how you can access those,” she added.
The USDA - RD has three major program areas noted by Bolz.
Those include: Housing, Business Development, and Community Facilities.
In the Housing realm, that can include a wide array of programs to help citizens of the area with housing repair and low-interest loans.
Bolz notes that grants are available for homeowners who may need repairs done to their houses. Those can include roof repairs, heating and air conditioning units, and so much more.
Another aspect of the Housing programs are the loans for rural home buyers. Bolz also notes that those loans can be rolled into a dual purpose, not only helping with the purchase but including any possible repairs that may be needed.
The second major program area, Business Development, includes a multitude of helpful programs for local producers.
Bolz highlighted the Rural Energy for America Program which helps rural small businesses and agricultural producers implement energy efficient projects into their operations.
She notes that this is a grant that can help you do something new but helps your bottom line as you lower your utility bills.
The third major program highlighted by Bolz was Community Facilities.
This can include anything that is essential to a community that helps it grow and thrive. It includes libraries, health care facilities, rural ambulance service, or even a fire hall. Essentially anything that helps makes a rural community run.
The programs and helpful offerings that the USDA - RD carries are numerous and entirely too in depth to summarize in a newspaper article.
Bolz encourages everyone who is interested to visit their website, rd.usda.gov, to learn more about everything her organization can offer.
“We are here for your future. Your next small business dream, your next housing dream, the next dream you have for a community center or a fire hall,” said Bolz.
“I think sometimes because we are Federal, we seem further away than we are. But we have staff in Scottsbluff, North Platte, Kearney, Norfolk, and Lincoln and we are just a phone call away to help you make those dreams come true.”