The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced a $42.5 million investment for education and telemedicine projects in parts of rural America. The effort will fund 133 projects in 37 states and two U.S. territories through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program, benefiting 5.4 million rural residents. DJ LaVoy, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, says the program helps “rural residents to take advantage of economic, health care and educational opportunities without having to travel long distances.” The funded projects include $488,000 for Mississippi State University to update video conferencing equipment in 93 counties. USDA’s investment will enable participants in extension offices and experiment stations to deliver educational programming to interactive audiences. In Ohio, the Lisbon Exempted Village School District is receiving a $323,000 grant to create a distance learning network at eight sites within one county. The district will offer classes and behavioral health services to 850 students. Information on additional projects funded by the effort is online at www.rd.usda.gov.