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USDA Is Offering Immediate Measures to Help Rural Communities Affected By COVID-19

Rural Utah has been hit hard with businesses closing and people loosing their jobs as a result of COVID-19. Farmers and ranchers working two jobs to make ends meet are struggling to make ends meet. USDA's measure will help people in these communities.

On Wednesday, officials from USDA Rural Development announced a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses, and communities that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

The US Department of Agriculture has been working with feedback from states across the country to help institute support programs for people in rural areas that have been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic. The USDA is offering relief to support borrowers using Rural Development loan programs during this time of need.

Randy Parker is the Utah State Director of the U.S Department of Agriculture Rural Development. He said they support the people rural Utah who have been hit pretty hard by the pandemic.

“There is a dramatic impact on rural Utah and some of the businesses that we support out in rural communities are restaurants and also hotels and motels," said Parker. "All of them have been tremendously impact impacted by the stay at home orders. A lot of people are not out vacationing and visiting those places in the spring, which is when a lot of people visit rural Utah to recreate. Hotels across the southern part of the state that are normally running at 90 to 100% occupancy right now are in the 20 to 30% range that's going to have a dramatic impact on them”

The relief program offers different relief options to different situations. Those living in single family houses that have a loan through the USDA can be subject to moratorium on foreclosures or evictions, get reduced payments, or payment assistance. Multifamily houses financed with USDA are encouraged to work with their tenants with payments and the USDA will work with them on their payments as well. Businesses are asked to work with their borrowers and are given as much as 120 days for the business to g et back on top of things.

Parker said, “many times we forget about that eight or 9% of our population that are in our rural communities. And we need to look at this all together all of us as Utahns so that we can get through this and USDA Rural Development stands ready to help our rural communities, our rural families and those businesses that sustain those communities to get through these difficult times.”

For more information on this relief program, visit rd.usda.gov.