Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting applications for its ReConnect Program loans and grants to expand access to high-speed internet for millions of people in rural America. The agency is making over $1 billion available for the program, a critical piece of the effort to connect every American to affordable and reliable high-speed internet. “Ensuring that the people of rural America get connected with reliable high-speed internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of the country,” Vilsack says. “That’s why high-speed internet is an important part of USDA Rural Development’s work with rural communities.” USDA is accepting applications for loans with available funds of $150 million, grants with available funds of $700 million, and combination loan/grant awards using $300 million under the ReConnect Program. “Reliable high-speed internet opens the world’s marketplace to rural business owners,” Vilsack adds. The application deadline is November 2. Go to rd.usda.gov for information.