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Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities March 21, 2023


Resources and Publications

USDA Rural Development Build America, Buy America (BABAA) Customer Guide This guide is designed to help people determine if their project is subject to BABAA and explain how to document compliance. USDA RD’s implementation waiver for BABAA expired Feb. 3, 2023. All non-Federal organizations receiving USDA RD financial assistance for infrastructure projects are now required to exclusively use iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials manufactured in the United States. The Build America, Buy America Act was enacted on Nov. 15, 2021, as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Full Stakeholder Announcement

RRDC: Findings from National Listening Sessions on Rural Community, Economic, and Workforce Development The Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) released this initiative to support the critical investments needed to build community capacity and improve quality of life in rural America. Executive Summary, Full Report, or Topical and Regional Reports. 

Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Funding for USDA Rural Development IRA represents the largest single investment in rural electrification since the passage of the Rural Electrification Act in 1936. Sections 22001 through 22005 of IRA provide new loan and grant products and unprecedented incentives to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs and spur economic growth to be offered by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service and Rural Business and Cooperative Service. Current Events, Recorded Webinars and Funding Updates will be posted on this website!

Linkages Between Rural Community Capitals and Healthcare Provision: A Survey of Small Rural Towns in Three U.S. Regions This study examines community-level factors affecting the recruitment and retention of rural healthcare professionals in 150 small towns in 9 States.

National Listening Sessions on Rural Community, Economic & Workforce The Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) released findings from a comprehensive initiative aimed at identifying the critical investments needed to build community capacity and improve quality of life in rural America. Get the executive summary, full report or topical and regional reports here.

Looking Across Sectors at Strategies for Supporting Rural Youth and Families Tool-Kit Georgetown University published piece offering tools to support youth and families and tackle racial and ethnic disparities in rural areas.

Updated Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) State Fact Sheets Check out your state fact sheet for detailed information about announced BIL funding and projects in each state, along with anticipated funding over the next 5 years. Find Funding Opportunities: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

USDA RD Featured Success Stories

RD Success Story PhotoEntrepreneurs and RD: a Match Meant to Bee Mark and Linda Graf have a crew of over 400,000 bees in over 100 hives working for them near Emerson, Nebraska. When space opened next door to their home to open a shop, the Grafs took hold of the opportunity, and The Buzz opened its doors. Then, they applied for a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant to add solar panels to the roof of their shop. REAP provides loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

RD Small Business Success PhotoBuilding Small Rural Businesses via Value Added Fable Farms, a wine company in Washington, felt the strain during COVID-19 in 2020. Finding supplies for the business and getting customers to visit the winery for tastings became a challenge. USDA RD’s Value-Added Producer Grant helped them to fund brand awareness and create opportunities for collaboration to improve sales.  


Events and Learning

3/28-29: Women's Business Summit sponsored by U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership (OWBO), the National Women's Business Council (NWBC) and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center (NEC) 

Various: HAC Presents: Overcoming Cost Barriers-Innovative Approaches to Construction with Smart Building Techniques, Volunteers, and Sweat Equity Learning Webinar Series

Recorded: SORP: Destination Stewardship: Reimagine the Purpose of Tourism Through Community Planning. Community stakeholders reimage the purpose of tourism.

10/16–10/18:  ACEEE: Energy Efficiency as a Resource (Philadelphia, PA) 

Food Related Learning/Networking:

Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities, February 15, 2023


Events and Learning

USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) hosts two listening sessions. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) (Pub. L. 117-58) provided the RUS Telecommunications Program with support for technical assistance and pre-development planning. RUS received additional funding for these purposes in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (Pub. L. 117-328). RUS wants to hear from you! Join the conversation:

  • 2/23: Broadband Technical Assistance for Rural Communities- To solicit valuable insight into the challenges communities face in gaining broadband access, the types of technical assistance resources that would best serve these communities and how RUS can best provide support.
  • 2/28: Broadband Technical Assistance Providers- To solicit input on the opportunities available to provide technical assistance for rural communities, the barriers to deliver these services and how RUS can help providers overcome these barriers.

Ag Outlook Forum Graphic

2/23-24: USDA’s 99th Annual: Agricultural Outlook Forum

2/28: CDFA Food Systems Finance Webinar Series: Bonds & Food Systems

Various: Getting the Grant: Applying for Appalachian Regional Commission Funding Opportunities | ARISE, INSPIRE and POWER

  • 2/23: Belden, Mississippi
  • 2/28: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • 3/2: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Rural Data Gateway

Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 01/19/2023

Throughout January: Inflation Reduction Act Round Tables with USDA Rural Utilities Service. Check the Events Link on this website for your best fit. Past USDA RD IRA webinars are also available to review.

1/25 & 1/27: USDA RD Presents: Introduction to Build America, Buy America Act. On February 3, 2023, all non-Federal entities receiving USDA Rural Development federal financial assistance for infrastructure projects must comply with the Build America, Buy America Act.

Register: 1/25 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, 1/27 11:00 a.m. Eastern or 1/27 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern

2/15: Housing Solutions in Rural Recreation Communities - EPA’s Office of Community Revitalization, USDA RD, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) address housing in gateway communities.

Ag Outlook Forum

2/23-24: 2023 Agricultural Outlook Forum

Recorded: USDA AMS Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program

Recorded: USDA: Composting and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements 

Recorded: NIFA Food Safety Outreach Program FY 2023 RFA Technical Assistance Webinar

Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 12/20/2022


Resources and Publications

USDA RD Featured Success Story:

'Going the Extra Mile' to Provide Post-Pandemic Health Services

USDA Rural Development supported the Harvest Outreach Center in Rustburg, Va., with funding from two Emergency Rural Healthcare grants to address lost revenue and increase the organization’s capacity to provide services. A new fleet of vehicles will be used to transport youth to mental health and summer feeding programs as well as deliver computers for virtual treatments and wireless routers that act as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. Read more USDA RD success stories!

Public Health AmeriCorps AmeriCorps and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined forces to launch this program designed to support the recruitment, training and development of the next generation of public health leaders. Apply by January 4, 2023. See the Public Health AmeriCorps Technical Assistance webinar session and the Public Health AmeriCorps External Communications Toolkit for more information.

Project for Public Spaces Placemaking Booklet Learn all about placemaking! Free resource offered from Project for Public Spaces to help more people learn about placemaking, its benefits and the principles underlying the process.



Recorded: Centering Indigenous Values in Outdoor Recreation Series - SORP's recent training series on how Indigenous values and Traditional Ecological Knowledge are brought into outdoor recreation planning and management by Indigenous and non-Indigenous outdoor recreation professionals. Future events:


1/25: FEMA Resilient Nation Partner Network 2023 Kickoff - Stories of Resilience and Storytelling Training

2/11-14: The National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference

4/1-4: American Planning Association National Conference: Join in to tackle critical issues facing planners including climate change, housing, health equity and the future of work



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