USDA Rural Development director

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2000

ready to help Pike County


Staff Writer

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Steve Pelham may be new to the job, but he’s well aware as to what USDA Rural Development has done to help Pike County.

Pelham was appointed the state director for USDA Rural Development on June 4 by President George W. Bush, leaving his position with U.S. Rep. Terry Everett’s office.

"I’m about as new as you can get," Pelham told members of the Troy Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon, adding that was his first civic club speech since going to USDA.

"My role and my mission is to continue doing good things this agency’s done," Pelham said.

And, the agency has contributed a little over $4 million to Pike County in the past few years.

Some of the projects, USDA Rural Development has provided funding for in Pike County include water system work in Banks, Goshen, the Pike County Water Authority and the South Bullock Water Authority, which supplies residents in the northern portion of the county.

Most recently, USDA Rural Development contributed just under $500,000 to the Pike County Cattleman’s Association agriculture complex on U.S. 231 between Troy and Brundidge.

Brundidge has also benefitted by money that went towards purchasing additional land at the city’s industrial park.

The USDA Rural Development’s Revolving Loan Program also helped rebuild Carter Brothers Manufacturing, which was destroyed by fire.

"We do not do anything directly," Pelham said of the partnership’s USDA Rural Development has with officials in Pike County.

And, he believes "the best is yet to come" for this area’s economic development, which is what USDA Rural Development does.

Pelham said the agency works to promote economic development in rural areas like Pike County through grants, financing housing, making improvements to water and wastewater systems and distance learning, which has become a big draw to Troy State University.

Handling a $140 billion budget will be a challenge, Pelham said, but he assured Rotary Club members he plans to spend all of what is allocated to Alabama.

"I want to spend every penny we’re allocated," Pelham said, adding any money not spent will go to other states. "I don’t plan to leave money on the table."

Pelham said over half of the state’s population lives in rural areas and "that’s who we’re dedicated to" at USDA Rural Development.