May 20, 2005

U.S. and Mexico Sign Partnership to Promote USDA Rural Development Programs

MEXICO CITY — Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Secretary of Foreign Affairs for Mexico Ernesto Luis Derbez Bautista today signed a partnership arrangement to improve access to USDA rural development programs for eligible Mexicans in the United States.

“USDA looks forward to continuing to work with Mexican authorities to enhance outreach to the Mexican community,” said Johanns. “USDA administers 43 rural development programs designed to assist rural residents and communities increase their economic opportunities and improve their quality of life. Expanding access to these programs in underserved communities in need, especially the Hispanic community, is a priority for the Bush Administration.”

“This partnership is the continuation of the firm cooperation established with the USDA, to inform and encourage qualified Mexican Nationals to take advantage of the benefits offered by rural development programs,” said Derbez. “Within these programs, USDA loans and grants for housing contribute to the enhanced well being of eligible Mexicans who would otherwise not be able to own a home or improve their living conditions. This partnership is one of the actions developed by the Foreign Affairs Secretary to engage in promoting better conditions for Mexicans living in the US.”

The arrangement signed today is a component of a USDA initiative to provide outreach to a wide-range of immigrant communities, seniors and the working poor. Under the specifics of the partnership, the Mexican Embassy and Mexican consulates in the United States will disseminate information on USDA rural development programs, including program eligibility criteria and the benefits of rural development programs. In addition the participants plan to collaborate on community-based activities and events benefiting the Mexican-Americans, Mexican nationals working within the U.S. and migrant communities situated in border and rural areas and in many metropolitan areas throughout the U.S.

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