Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman announced that USDA will expand efforts to bring farmers, rural residents and businesses greater access to improved telecommunication technology through the financing of more than $1.4 billion in loans and loan guarantees to rural telecommunications providers. "The expansion of this technology initiative will better equip our rural communities to enhance opportunities for economic development," Veneman said. "These tools will help farmers, rural businesses, students and health care recipients, with new technologies and telecommunications services."
In addition, USDA will propose spending $196 million for the program in its FY2004 budget. For further information, go to www.usda.gov/news/releases/2003/01/0028.htm.