By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
USDA invests $50,000 in community infrastructure in Rice County

TOPEKA – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Kansas Lynne Hinrichsen announced on Tuesday that USDA is investing $50,000 toward new and improved fire engines for Rice County Rural Fire District No. 1.

“Modern, reliable fire protection is necessary for communities to thrive,” Hinrichsen said. “Our emergency responders must have the proper tools to protect and serve our towns and people. Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand, USDA is dedicated to rural communities like Rice County and their long-term commitments to economic prosperity; because when rural America prospers, all of America prospers.” 

Rice County will use a $50,000 grant to assist with the purchase of six engine/pumpers and build two additional engine/pumpers out of the vehicles being replaced. These vehicles will be used in Rice County and portions of Ellsworth and Reno Counties. Through mutual aid agreements with surrounding communities these fire engines could serve as far as 150 miles from Rice County. The new fire engines will provide fire protection services for the nearly 11,800 people. This public safety partnership is made possible by the additional contributions of the Rice County Rural Fire District No. 1, contributing $600,000, and Rice County, contributing $777,247. 

These investments were made through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program and can be used to build or upgrade schools, libraries, clinics and public safety facilities. 

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

Interested parties should contact their local Kansas office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants a detailed overview of the application process.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information visit