USDA Gives Rural Nevada $240 Million Boost

Rural Development, one of the seven mission areas of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this week announced it has spent more than $240 million in rural Nevada communities during FY 2012. Expenditures support affordable housing for low-income families, small business ventures and infrastructure improvements such as community buildings, emergency response equipment and utility systems.

USDA Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler announced the spending total at the Nevada League of Cities conference in Elko, where she presented a “From the Ground Up” award to the City of West Wendover for its commitment to infrastructure improvement. Adler said she was glad agency programs have helped bring development and capital into rural Nevada, especially during a time of economic recovery.

Five families break ground on homes in Mesquite, NV in June 2012. USDA Rural Development provided direct home loans to the families. (At center in pink is Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino. Next to her is Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler.) / Source: USDA RD website

“I am pleased that our team helped leverage the efforts of hard working communities and lenders throughout the state,” she said. “Rural communities make great contributions to our state and hold great promise.”

Through its affordable housing program, USDA Rural Development assisted 801 families achieve homeownership with more than $124 million in housing assistance, including $108 million in guaranteed mortgage loans for low and moderate income Nevadans in rural areas of the state.

Another 34 families benefited from the home repair program which provided $157,708 in grants and loans to low income families and seniors to complete repairs to enhance accessibility and safety.

The Business Development Program also awarded just over $115 million in guaranteed loans, grants and direct loans to help boost new business ventures in rural Nevada.

The largest guaranteed loan was to Sierra Fulcrum Biofuels, which received a $105 million loan guarantee to finance development of a facility to convert municipal solid waste into advanced biofuels. The plant is located in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, in the City of McCarran, Storey County.

Fulcrum’s first garbage-to-fuels facility, Sierra BioFuels, located near Reno, NV. / Source: Fulcrum BioEnergy website

Once operational, the Nevada plant is expected to convert 147,000 tons of processed municipal solid waste into more than 10 million gallons of advanced biofuels annually. The plant is expected to create an estimated 430 jobs during construction and 53 permanent jobs.

Based in Pleasanton, California, Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels is a privately held company that focuses on developing facilities that convert municipal solid waste and other waste products to low-cost, renewable transportation fuel.

The Rural Development Biorefinery Assistance Program is part of a larger USDA effort to produce advanced biofuels throughout the United States. The USDA has funded numerous biorefineries that are using feedstocks like agriculture residue, woody biomass, municipal solid waste, and algae in states from Florida and Michigan to New Mexico.

USDA Rural Development Community Programs also invested $1.4 million in community services, such as community building improvements, emergency response equipment, commercial kitchen equipment and water line replacements to ensure the health and safety of rural residents. The towns of Tonopah and West Wendover both benefitted from low-interest loans for water and utility system improvements.

Over the past four fiscal years, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $600 million in affordable housing, business ventures and community programs and utility systems in rural Nevada.