Resources

Resource Index

 

PA PREFERRED HOMEGROWN BY HEROS PROGRAM OPEN TO FARMERS WHO ARE MILITARY VETERANS
Homegrown by Heroes is a program for PA Preferred® members who are veterans. The program allows farmers who are military veterans to add the Homegrown by Heroes logo to their products so that consumers can easily identify it and support veteran-owned businesses. A program of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Homegrown by Heroes was founded by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in January 2013. To become a certified Homegrown By Heroes member, first become a member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition (membership is free). If you are not yet a member or for more information, visit the Farmer Veteran Coalition website. After your membership has been approved by FVC, you’ll need to become a certified Homegrown By Heroes member. More details can be found on the Farmer Veteran Coalition's Homegrown by Heroes page. Finally, apply to the PA Preferred program (membership is free). Once these requirements have been met, complete the PA Preferred Homegrown by Heroes Application (PDF).

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PA DOWNTOWN CENTER PRESENTS NATURE-BASED PLACEMAKING VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS
Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has announced two workshops on Nature-Based Placemaking: Local Leadership Development and Business Enhancement & Development. These regionally specific virtual workshops will be offered at staggered times throughout the first two weeks in December. While each workshop will highlight opportunities and issues that are specific to each of three regions, all are welcome to join any workshop. Click here to register for the Local Leadership Development Workshop and here to register for the Business Enhancement & Development Workshop. For more on PDC’s Nature-Based Placemaking Program, click here.

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READY! SET! WRITE! GRANT WRITING FROM A TO Z
The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health has announced its webinar series on grant writing. The series will include proven techniques for writing a proposal during seven sessions and will include: An introduction to grant writing; Developing a logic model; Researching funding sources; Compiling grant applications; Project reporting; and Identifying funding opportunities. This webinar series is designed for both the novice and seasoned grant writer. Both will find valuable information to enhance their skills. Feedback on grant applications and other targeted technical assistance will be provided free of charge. The series costs $299. Click here to see the agenda and to register. The program begins on January 14, 2021. Space is limited. For more information, contact Terri Klinefelter at (814) 863-8214 or tjc136@psu.edu.

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FED RESERVE RELEASES LATEST SURVEY RESULTS ON CONDITIONS IN LOW- TO MODERATE-INCOME COMMUNITIES
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has released the latest Perspectives from Main Street report that is based on findings from its October survey. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve, in partnership with the 11 other Reserve Banks and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, has been surveying representatives of nonprofits, financial institutions, government agencies, and other community organizations to determine the COVID-19’s impact on low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities. The majority of organizations said COVID-19’s impacts on a range of issues — from employment and education to basic consumer needs and health — got modestly or significantly worse since August. While the Third District state data are not a representative sample, there are several areas where the results vary from or are more pronounced than national indicators in the full report: The majority of respondents in the nation (59 percent) and larger majorities of respondents in Pennsylvania (60 percent), New Jersey (69 percent), Delaware (67 percent), report that LMI communities are experiencing significant disruption and expect recovery to be difficult; Income and job loss were cited as the top impacts for respondents in the nation (38 percent) and in Pennsylvania (34 percent), New Jersey (45 percent), and Delaware (58 percent); and The majority of respondents in the nation (56 percent) and in Pennsylvania (60 percent), New Jersey (79 percent), and Delaware (50 percent) report that it will take 12 months for community conditions to return to pre-pandemic levels. The next survey round will open on Wednesday, December 9.

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USDA ACCEPTING FARM TO SCHOOL GRANT APPLICATIONS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2021 Farm to School Grant Program. USDA will award up to $10 million in competitive grants to eligible entities. Each grant helps implement farm to school programs that increase access to local food in eligible schools, connect children with agriculture for better health, and inspire youth to consider careers in agriculture. Complete applications must be submitted on www.Grants.gov by January 8, 2021. To apply, applicants must obtain a DUNS number, register in the System for Award Management (SAM), and register in Grants.gov. Applicants are encouraged to begin this process early.

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VIDEO - RURAL COMMUNITY ACTION ASSEMBLY: COVID-19 AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR WORKFORCE INVESTMENTS AND EMPLOYERS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
If you missed the September Rural Community Action Assembly, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, you can watch the assembly video here. The assembly explored the job training needs in our state's rural communities and how job training can be an investment in an equitable recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is having a significant impact on Pennsylvania's economy, with workers experiencing significant disruption or displacement. Workers in most sectors of the economy have been affected, but this has been particularly challenging for workers in accommodations and food service, recreation, and retail. Click here to watch the video.

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HRSA FUNDING FOR RURAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES OUTREACH PROGRAM
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications for the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program (Outreach Program). The Outreach Program is a community-based grant program aimed at promoting rural health care services by enhancing health care delivery to rural underserved populations in the local community or region. Through consortia of local health care and social service providers, communities can develop innovative approaches to challenges related to the specific health needs in rural areas that expand clinical and service capacity in rural communities. The applications deadline is December 1. Click here for more information.

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GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is accepting applications for the 2021 Environmental Education Grants Program. The program supports environmental education projects including creative, hands-on lessons for students, teacher training programs, and outdoor learning resources for conservation education for adults.The application deadline is December 11. Click here for more information.

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PORH OFFERING GRANT WRITING WEBINAR SERIES
The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health is once again holding it annual webinar series on grant writing. The series will include proven techniques for writing a proposal during seven sessions and will include: an introduction to grant writing; developing a logic model; researching funding sources; compiling grant applications; project reporting; and identifying funding opportunities.  This webinar series is designed for both new and seasoned grant writers. Both will find valuable information to enhance their skills. Feedback on grant applications and other targeted technical assistance will be provided free of charge. The series is $299. Click here to see the agenda and to register. The program begins on January 14, 2021. For more information, contact Terri Klinefelter at (814) 863-8214 or tjc136@psu.edu.

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FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY INTERVENTIONS TO ADDRESS CONSEQUENCES OF COVID 19 AMONG VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering funding forcommunity interventions to address the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic among health disparity and vulnerable populations. The funding is to assist applicants in implementing and evaluating community interventions testing the impacts of mitigation strategies to prevent COVID 19 transmissions in National Institute of Health designated health disparity populations and other vulnerable groups, and already implemented, new or adapted interventions to address the adverse psychosocial, behavioral and socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic on the health of these groups. The application deadline is December 1. Click here for more information.

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USDA OFFERS SECOND ROUND OF COVID RELIEF FUNDING FOR FARMERS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is launching a second round of COVID-19 relief payments for farmers. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 is for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept CFAP 2 applications from September 21 through December 11, 2020. Click here for more information.

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COMMUNITY CONNECT GRANTS FOR BROADBAND IN UNSERVED RURAL AREAS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications to provide broadband service in unserved rural areas. USDA is making grants available under the Community Connect Grant program for Fiscal Year 2021. The program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide broadband service in rural, economically-challenged communities where broadband service does not exist. Grant recipients must provide broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to all premises in the proposed service area. USDA will give priority to rural areas that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband services, based on requirements that can be found at 7 CFR part 1739. Applicants are encouraged to review the FY 2021 application guide and sample material online. The submission deadline is December 23, 2020. Click here for more information.

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CHART MODEL FUNDING OPPORTUNITY FOR RURAL COMMUNITY HEALTH ACCESS
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is accepting applications for the Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model. CHART is a voluntary payment model designed to meet the unique needs of rural communities. The CHART Model will test whether aligned financial incentives, increased operational flexibility, and robust technical support promote rural health care providers’ capacity to implement effective health care delivery system redesign on a broad scale. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) will evaluate the impact of the CHART Model on Medicare and Medicaid expenditures, access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes for rural residents. The application deadline is February 16, 2021. Click here for more information.

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AMERICORPS STATE AND NATIONAL GRANTSAVAILABLE
AmeriCorps is accepting applications for funding for programs that are designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems, including those found in rural and underserved areas. Funding priorities include prescription drug and opioid abuse, education, and rural intermediary organizations. The application deadline is January 6, 2021. Click here for more information.

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FARMLINK RESOURCES FOCUS ON HEALTHY FARMS, HEALTHY MINDS
Pennsylvania Farmlink has posted some new resources for farmers called, Healthy Farms, Healthy Minds. The brochure and video encourage farmers to pay attention to and care for their mental health, just as they would pay attention to the health and vibrancy of their farms. Click here for the video and brochure.

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVANTAGE GRANT PROGRAM FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY, POLLUTION PROTECTION
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the availability of $1 million in grant funding to Pennsylvania small businesses and farmers for energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and natural resource protection projects through the Small Business Advantage grant program. New to the program this year is the opportunity for farmers to install solar pumping systems for their agricultural operations. Pennsylvania-based small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are eligible. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption, or pollution related expenses. Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds of up to $7,000 to adopt or acquire energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Only costs incurred between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021 are eligible. Applications will be considered first come, first served, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2020-21 funds are exhausted or April 12, 2021, whichever occurs first. All applications must be submitted through the Commonwealth’s Single Application for Assistance website. Printed, faxed, and mailed applications are not accepted. Click here for more information.

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PENNDOT SEEKING VOLUNTEERS FOR PILOT STUDY ON MILEAGE-BASED USER FEE
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking volunteers to participate in a mileage-based user fee pilot program. PennDOT is participating in the program, which is sponsored by the Eastern Transportation Coalition (formerly the I-95 Corridor Coalition), to test the practicality of a mileage-based user fee, an approach that would charge motorists for the mileage they travel on public roadways, instead of the fuel they consume. Congress has instructed the states to test new funding approaches that could ensure future resources for transportation system needs, and Pennsylvania is doing its part by participating in this pilot program. Volunteers will be asked to register for a plug-in mileage-recording device. They will then receive artificial bills during the pilot; however, no one will be charged a fee and no money will be exchanged. The purpose is to simulate a mileage-based user fee process to test how well the technology and support system operates, and to evaluate the program’s implications in rural areas with rural drivers. For more information on the pilot program, click here. To volunteer for the pilot, email Emily Watts at ewatts@pa.gov.

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CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR FARMERS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5% or greater price decline due to COVID-19. Click here for more information. 

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TAKE THE SURVEY TO HELP DCNR CREATE FORESTRY STRATEGIC PLAN
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry is writing a new Strategic Plan that will set the bureau’s mission and overarching goals. The plan guides how the bureau provides leadership in forest management and conservation on both public and private lands in rural and urban areas. The survey will provide important information to the new plan. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Click here to take the survey.

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PA SMALL BUSINESS GRANT TO OFFSET LOST REVENUE
The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. This is not a first-come, first-served program. There will be multiple rounds of application windows. The application window for the first round of funding is expected to open on June 30 and remain open for 10 business days. Applications will continue to be accepted after 10 business days but will be considered for future rounds of funding. Additional rounds will be announced soon. Click here for more information.

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APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED FOR CONSERVATION EXCELLENCE GRANT PROGRAM BEGINNING JULY 1
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will be accepting applications for the Conservation Excellence Grant Program (CEG Program) beginning July 1. The program provides financial and technical assistance for the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) on agricultural operations in high-priority locations within Pennsylvania through grants, loans and tax credits, or a combination of all three. Eligible projects include: fencing to keep livestock out of streams; streambank restoration; cover crops; planting streamside buffers; manure storage; and nutrient management plans. Priority counties include: Tier 1: Lancaster & York; Tier 2: Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, Franklin, & Lebanon; Tier 3: Adams, Bradford, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Susquehanna, & Tioga. Click here for more information.

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EDA ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR $1.5 BILLION TO RESPOND TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting applications for EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance Program, which will provide $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus. The application deadline is ongoing. Click here for more information.

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GRANT GUIDE FOR RURAL AREAS
The National Association of Towns and Townships has released, Rural Grant Guide: Grants to Support Projects in Rural Areas. The guide identifies potential funding opportunities to support community development, healthcare, broadband and energy, and water and wastewater projects in rural areas. These opportunities prioritize evidence-based, cost-effective programs for many of the most pressing issues that face rural communities. Click here for the guide.

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PA DEPARTMENT OF AG CONFIRMS STATE'S FIRST SPOTTED LANTERNFLY HATCH, ENCOURAGES RESIDENTS TO BE VIGILANT
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reported the first confirmed Spotted Lanternfly hatch of the year in late April. The first-instar nymph was located by a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee in western Philadelphia, near the University of Pennsylvania/Drexel University. The majority of Spotted Lanternfly hatches begin in southern Pennsylvania in mid to late April, with a lag in timing for Pennsylvania's more northern counties. As the first instars of Spotted Lanternfly hatch from eggs, they instantly seek tender plant tissue to feed. The Spotted Lanternfly is capable of decimating entire grape vineyards and damaging fruit orchards, hops, walnuts, hardwoods and decorative trees. In addition to endangering agriculture, this bad bug threatens the public’s ability to enjoy the outdoors during spring and summer months, as the bugs are known to swarm in the air, cover trees, and coat decks and play equipment with their excrement, known as honeydew. Scraping egg masses is the most efficient way to kill 30-50 of the invasive pests at once. If you discover Spotted Lanternfly egg masses, scrape them off using a putty knife, credit card, or other firm, blunt-edged tool. Penn State Extension has a helpful tutorial here on how to destroy egg masses. Currently, 26 Pennsylvania counties are in quarantine for this invasive pest. If you scrape an egg mass or squash a Spotted Lanternfly, always report your sighting here, or by calling 1-888-4BAD-FLY. For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

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RHIHUB RURAL RESOURCES FOR COVID-19
Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) had developed an online guide to provide information about activities underway to address COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Federal and state agencies, along with national organizations, are sharing resources and guidelines to help all communities and healthcare facilities, including rural areas, respond to this issue. Visit www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/covid-19 for the latest information.

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USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FOR RURAL RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY COVID-19
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has taken several immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit USDA Rural Development’s webpage for more information on housing, business, and infrastructure grants, loans and assistance.

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CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT LOANS
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundationhas announced emergency loans through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which allocated $350 billion to help small businesses and nonprofits keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to eligible organizations.  Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. Click here for a guide, Questions & Answers to some frequently asked questions, and more information on this relief measure.

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NATIONAL DISLOCATED WORKER GRANT FUNDING
The U.S. Department of Labor is offering National Dislocated Worker Grant funding to address the emergency response to COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Labor Employment Recovery Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs) provide resources to states and other eligible applicants to respond to major economic dislocations, such as large, unexpected layoff events that cause significant job losses. Applications are accepted at any time, provided appropriated funding for the program is available. Click here for application guidelines.

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HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION'S COMMUNITY IMPACT GRANTS PROGRAM
Home Depot Foundation is offering grants through it Impact Grants Program to nonprofit organizations and public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve their communities. The program focuses on support for organizations that serve veterans in local communities, as well as organizations that serve diverse and underserved communities. Grants of up to $5,000 are made in the form of Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. Requests will be accepted on a rolling basis through December 31. Visit the foundation's website to submit an online application.

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COVID-19 INFORMATION FROM PA STATE AGENCIES AND PA ATTORNEY GENERAL
Click the links for information on COVID-19 from these Pennsylvania state agencies, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General: Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services,  Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

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PA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO OPERATE DISASTER HOUSEHOLD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has received federal approval to operate a Disaster Household Distribution program, through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), to provide critical food supplies to Pennsylvanians adversely affected as a result of statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts. On March 28, the department received approval to use U.S. Department of Agriculture foods as part of a Disaster Household Distribution program being operated through the state’s network of food banks, food pantries, and pop-up distribution sites. The approval allows the department and its partners to more efficiently distribute a variety of foods – including meats, vegetables, fruit, canned goods, cereal, rice, pasta, eggs, and more – to those most affected by the closure of non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania. Click here for more information.

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NEW GUIDEBOOK ASSISTS RURAL LEADERS WITH RESPONSE TO CRISIS OF ADDICTION
The Office of National Drug Control Policy has released a new guidebook to assist rural community leaders in building an effective local response to the crisis of addiction. The Rural Community Action Guide: Building Stronger, Healthy Drug-Free Rural Communities provides rural leaders with information they can put into immediate action to create change. It provides background information, recommended action steps, and promising practices to help manage the impact of substance use disorder on local communities and help persons with the disease of addiction. The topics are based on lessons learned from Department of Agriculture rural roundtable discussions held in over a dozen states, as well as the experiences of several rural stakeholder partners.  

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2019-2020 PENNSYLVANIA GRANT AND RESOURCE DIRECTORY AVAILABLE
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Democratic Caucus has released the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Grant and Resource Directory. The directory includes a general overview of state government programs, including grants and resources, along with contact information. The directory also includes a list of online grant writing guides and a list of Pennsylvania Community Foundations. Click here for a copy of the directory.

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PA FARM LINK DATABASE HELPS KEEP PA LAND IN AGRICULTURE
Agriculture is one of Pennsylvania's top industries and it’s important to keep land in agriculture production and help the next generation keep it alive and thriving, Pennsylvania Farm Link offers an online database of farming opportunities for the next generation. There is a one-time fee of $100 to list on the database. Farmer information is kept completely confidential until famers decide they are ready to meet the interested farmer or landowner. Visit the PA Farm Link website at www.pafarmlink.org and click on either the "Find A Farm" or "Find A Farmer" tab to see what is currently available. For more information call (717) 705-2121 or email farmland@pafarmlink.org.

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ANGEL FLIGHT’S FREE, NON-EMERGENCY AIR TRAVEL FOR RUAL CHILDREN AND ADULTS
Angel Flight East (AFE), founded in Pennsylvania by Harry Morales, a general aviation pilot, is dedicated to rural health by facilitating free air transportation to children and adults in need of medical treatment far from home. AFE is based in Montgomery County, Pa., and serves the Northeast United States. While AFE flies patients from all over a 14-state territory, it has seen an even greater need for patients living in rural areas and those with rare medical conditions who often have to travel far distances for treatment. For more information, click here.

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STRENGTHENING RURAL AMERICA’S RURAL INNOVATION INFRASTRUCTURE
The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group has released a new report called "Strengthening Rural America's Rural Innovation Infrastructure." This report focuses on the role, and aggregates the wisdom, of a specific set of intermediaries, called Rural Development Hubs, that are “doing development differently” in rural America. The report focuses on these Hubs because they are main players in advancing an asset-based, wealth-building, approach to rural community and economic development across the country. For a copy of the report, click here.

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AMERICA WALKS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
America Walks is now offering more intensive, Technical Assistance (T.A.) solutions to government, non-profit, and business clients. With more than 20 years of experience in advocacy campaigns and policy development, America Walks' T.A. program is based on proven strategies for engaging community stakeholders, building local walking movements, and developing the political will that leads to positive change. Click here for more information.

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DOWNLOAD TESTIT, THE RURAL BROADBAND MAPPING APP
To continue gathering data about broadband availability and speed, the National Association of Counties (NACo), Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Rural LISC), Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), and National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) have created a mobile app that allows individual users to accurately identify areas with low or no broadband connectivity. The data from the app are aggregated to identify gaps in broadband coverage, help guide advocacy for adequate funding, and inform decision-making at federal, state, and local levels. To date, the mobile app has been downloaded 4,500 times and 190,000 tests have been run. To download the app, click here. Click here for the link to a one page description of the app. Click here to see the state data collected so far.

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PA DHS AND AGING ANNOUNCE KINCONNECTOR HELPLINE
The Pennsylvania Departments of Human Services and Aging have announced a new KinConnector helpline for families in kinship care situations, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings raising children because of the opioid crisis. The KinConnector helpline connects families with available resources such as: health, financial, and legal services; training; parenting advice; locating physical or behavioral health services; school enrollment; support groups; and other services designed to help caregivers. Navigators will also be available to help families apply for federal, state, and local benefits. To reach KinConnector, call 1-866-KIN-2111 (1-866-546-2111). Assistance is available Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

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USDA TOOLKIT TO SUPPORT DEPLOYMENT OF HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new toolkit to help support the deployment of high-speed broadband e-Connectivity in rural communities. The e-Connectivity Toolkit features 27 USDA programs that support broadband deployment. The easy-to-use resource is a simple guide that allows customers to identify their type of e-Connectivity project and locate resources the federal government offers for planning, equipment, construction, research and other e-Connectivity projects. Resources such as grants, loans and technical assistance are available from multiple Mission Areas at USDA, including Rural Development, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, National Resources Conservation Service, and Forest Service. The toolkit also highlights examples of how e-Connectivity resources are being used to increase access to broadband services in rural communities. Click here for the toolkit.

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USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT LOANS AND GRANTS PROGRAMS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development has the Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program and Loan Guarantees Program available. The Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program can provide funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas. The Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees Program can help private lenders provide affordable financing to qualified borrowers to improve access to clean, reliable water and waste disposal systems for households and businesses in rural areas. To learn more about either of these programs, contact your local Pennsylvania USDA Rural Development office here.

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RURAL LISC FUNDING TO DEVELOP, IMPROVE COMMUNITY FACILITIES
Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) is accepting applications for the Community Facilities Fund, which provides capital to help develop and improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural LISC uses this fund to provide permanent and construction-to-permanent financing for rural community facilities, including health care centers, hospitals, educational facilities, and other nonprofit and public facilities in rural communities with populations under 20,000. There is no application deadline. For more information, click here.

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PA’S ONE-STOP SHOP FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Looking for help to start your own business or expand your existing business? Visit Pennsylvania’s Business One-Stop Shop at www.business.pa.gov. The site provides information and resources for businesses both large and small, and serves as the first point of contact for Pennsylvania business development concerns. The shop’s team helps connect and guide businesses through all stages of development — from planning and startup to operating and expanding. Visit www.business.pa.gov or call (833) 722-6778.

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RURAL HEALTH INFORMATION HUB ONLINE
If you’re looking for an online source for current and reliable resources and tools on rural health needs and the work being done to address them, check out the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub), formerly the Rural Assistance Center. RHIhub is funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to be a national clearinghouse on rural health issues. RHIhub also provides free assistance customized to your needs. Call (800) 270-1898 or email info@ruralhealthinfo.org.

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