Rural Louisiana Partner in Prosperity

By Dr. Carrie Castille, Louisiana Director, USDA Rural Development

It is my honor to serve as USDA Rural Development’s Louisiana State Director. Rural Development is the only federal agency that focuses solely on the needs of rural residents, businesses and communities.  I am extremely proud of the investments that this agency has contributed to help rural communities grow and prosper. However, I could not do this alone.

One of Rural Development’s greatest strengths is our network of state and local offices. The skill sets that our employees possess are such as engineering, construction management, realty, architecture, commercial finance, administrative, marketing, communications, new business development, workforce development, and rural economic development.

Most Rural Development staff live in the communities that they serve. As a result, they are particularly aware of local issues and challenges. This includes needs such as schools, health care, education, business development, first responder services, and modern infrastructure – to name a few.

Here in Louisiana, Rural Development ‘s State Office is in Alexandria. There are four local offices that serve rural communities in and around Monroe, Natchitoches, Lafayette, and Amite. I encourage rural residents and local leaders, in the state to stop by any of our offices and visit our staff to learn more about USDA Rural Development and our programs that are available to you. Their contact information can be found here: https://www.rd.usda.gov/la.

Rural Development’s mission is to create rural prosperity, improve the quality of life, and fostering economic opportunity through infrastructure, partnerships, and innovation.

The investments we make in rural America help strengthen the rural economy, which is essential to national economic growth. Although only 14 percent of the U. S. population lives in a rural area, nearly 72 percent of our land mass is rural. USDA Rural Development staff work daily to support the needs of that 14 percent – the 46 million American citizens that provide our rural places with our food, fiber and fuel that the rest of the nation- and the – world – depend on.

Sometimes small rural communities may not have the resources to provide for larger-scale infrastructure development – like buildings, roads, pipelines, broadband, modern water system, and electric systems, so Rural Development can help them finance and provide these services. Through grants, loans and loan guarantees, Rural Development ensures access to capital and makes credit available at reasonable rates and terms for a wide range of needs in rural places.

USDA Rural Development works with agricultural producers, farmers, homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and local governments to promote economic development. We also offer technical assistance and information to help create thriving communities. These partnerships allow us to leverage private and public funding to promote local and regional business development to help increase opportunities to help address challenges that may hinder growth in small rural communities. For many rural areas, small businesses will be the job creators, the jobs that stay, the jobs that give people real livelihoods to remain home.

Our successes are many, and we have made a remarkable difference in rural and even urban communities. My staff and I will continue our efforts to work to ensure that people who live and work in rural areas have access to the same resources and services as people in urban and metropolitan areas. Please contact me at carrie.castille@la.usda.gov or (318) 473-7921, to let us know how we can help.

Together, America Prospers.