During his State of the Union speech, President Biden highlighted how the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to rebuild our economy, minimize impacts of climate change, create good-paying jobs for American workers, and support rural communities. Here are just a couple examples from Northwest Washington.
USDA’s climate-smart investments increase renewable energy production and decrease utility bills for Washington’s families and small businesses. For example, Orcas Power & Light Cooperative will use $26 million through USDA’s Rural Energy Savings Program to finance an energy efficiency relending program for projects that include rooftop solar for residences and small business and in-home battery storage.
During the pandemic, we realized how vulnerable our food supply had become. As part of this administration’s food system transformation, USDA is renovating the nation’s food system creating a more diverse, and resilient meat and poultry supply chain. Island Gorwn Farms, a small co-op based in Skagit County has operated a mobile processing unit for 20 years. With the help of USDA’s new meat and poultry processing expansion program, they will expand capacity while extending cooperative membership to other producers, who, in turn, will reach more consumers via farmers markets, food co-ops, and direct-to-consumer sales across the state.
These investments exemplify President Biden’s commitment to grow the economy, create jobs, and better position rural America to compete in a global economy. Here in Washington state, USDA supports opportunities for rural people to build brighter futures, because we know when rural people thrive, America thrives.
Helen Price Johnson
Washington state director
USDA Rural Development
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