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News Release

Release No. 0378.07
Contact:
Dane Henshall (202)260-0996

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USDA ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $6.2 MILLION FOR RURAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES

WASHINGTON, December 17, 2007—Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner today announced the selection of 38 organizations in 23 states to receive more than $6.2 million in grants to support rural economic development efforts. The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Community Development Initiative Program.

"These funds support USDA's partnership with rural America. In Wisconsin, for example, workshop training will assist federally recognized tribes in their ongoing efforts to provide healthy, energy efficient affordable housing for their families," Conner said. "This 'green affordable housing initiative' is an excellent example of how rural community leaders are investing in the future of their community."

USDA Rural Development's Rural Community Development Initiative helps community based development organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes and other groups promote economic growth in low-income, rural communities. Recipients are required to obtain matching funds, doubling the value of the grants. The grants are awarded to public or nonprofit intermediary organizations. The funds are then provided to recipients, which must be located in eligible rural areas. Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

For example, the National Enterprise Development Corporation in Montana has been selected to receive $234,643 to provide technical assistance to three non-profit groups and one federally recognized Indian tribe. The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin system has been selected to receive $116,530 to carry out the University's "Green Affordable Housing in Indian Country Initiative" with three federally recognized Indian Tribes in Wisconsin. Oregon's Rural Development Initiatives, Inc. has been selected to receive $234,643 to expand entrepreneurship development and provide resources for training and technical assistance to benefit emerging business and entrepreneurs in four economically distressed rural communities. A complete list of the loan recipients is available at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development has invested nearly $91 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. More than 1.7 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov .