Rural Partners Network with Farah Ahmad

Season #5

In this Impact Extra Episode, Michelle introduces issues from our upcoming series focused on rural housing as well rural transportation issues with special guest Farah Ahmad, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad works to advance policies and programs that create economic inclusion and opportunity in rural communities.

During this conversation, Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad shares how the Rural Partners Network (RPN) takes a unique approach to help rural communities build prosperity through job creation, infrastructure development, and community improvement. RPN is an alliance of 25 federal agencies working together with 36 communities across 10 states, and Puerto Rico, to help each community find their vision, and identify community, economic development, infrastructure, and housing needs, as well as the resources necessary to reach their goals.

Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad also shares how USDA works to come up with innovative solutions to high quality affordable rural housing, including the Native Community Native Community Development Financial (Native CDFI) Relending Pilot. The USDA is now working across many different states through nine different Native CDFIs, to improve homeownership opportunities for those living on Tribal Lands. Additionally, Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad highlights how a group called ROUTES (Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success), is dedicated to meeting the unique transportation needs and challenges in rural communities.

To learn more about the RPN visit