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Rural Partners Network

Helping rural people build prosperity through job creation, infrastructure development, and community improvement.

Welcome! This site is your front door to federal programs and information; a place where you can learn from others working to improve their rural communities.

The Rural Partners Network (RPN) is an alliance of federal agencies and commissions working directly with rural communities to expand rural prosperity through job creation, infrastructure development, and community improvement.

Led by USDA Rural Development, RPN members collaborate to identify resources to help rural people build the futures they envision for the unique places they call home.


 

First, we’re placing additional federal staff on the ground in selected RPN Community Networks – currently; Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

These dedicated team members help participating communities in these states clarify local priorities, navigate programming, connect to assistance providers and funders, and develop strong applications.

Then, as the selected RPN Community Networks create solutions, we’ll share their journeys and lessons learned here – so other communities can adapt their successful strategies.  

Participating RPN agencies and offices are also joining forces to promote rural priorities as federal programs and policies are developed to address funding gaps, increase access to technical assistance, and ensure equitable access to federal funding.

RURAL.gov is the official website of the Rural Partners Network. Check back often, as we continue to develop and expand this website. We’d also love your feedback and ideas! You can share them with us at RuralPartnersNetwork@usda.gov or with this short online questionnaire

There are many ways to define “rural.” Funders and assistance providers may set different thresholds for rural depending on the size of community, type of challenge, or goal their programming aims to address. Your community or project may be considered rural if:

  • The community has a low density of residents or smaller population that aligns with program-defined limits. 
  • The area is geographically considered remote or frontier.
  • Access to professional staff expertise or financial resources for community and economic development projects is limited because of the community’s, small size, geographic remoteness, or historic lack of investment.

Some programs highlighted on this website may specify rural eligibility criteria, and others may be open to projects nationwide but have provisions that are especially helpful for rural applicants or rural project implementation. Keep in mind that programs may use different tools or data sets to make these determinations. You should always consult with a specialist assigned to the program you are considering to confirm rural eligibility or rural priority scoring. 

A community network can be any collaboration among local leadership and key entities that leverage regional strengths and assets to address local priorities.  

The Rural Partners Network is working on the ground in selected RPN Community Networks to provide technical assistance and connect them to resources and staff from across the federal government to improve access to programs and advance local projects.

Whether a network of local stakeholders collaborates informally, operates as an organized partnership, or is selected as an RPN Community Network, these collaborations drive local efforts to enhance the economy and improve the quality of life. Read more about Community Networks.