WILMINGTON, Ohio — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has highlighted the department’s investments in rural infrastructure projects with a visit to Wilmington College in southwest Ohio.

Vilsack visited its Center for the Sciences and Agriculture, whose renovation was funded by a $19.7 million loan from the Agriculture Department’s Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.

He also announced a $54.6 million loan through the same program to help renovate the Fulton County Health Center in Wauseon (WAW’-see-ahn). The department says that facility is a “critical access hospital” that also offers drug treatment programs that are needed amid the ongoing opioid crisis.

The federal department says it has invested $6.9 billion in loans and grants over the past eight years across more than 8,000 education and health care facilities to help improve resources in rural communities.