Secretary Vilsack Announces Awards to Support Regional Economic Development Strategies
At Brookings Institute Conference, Vilsack Highlights USDA Initiative to Promote Job Creation and Rural Regional Innovation
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2010 –Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a series of awards that reflect the Obama administration's support for rural communities coming together to develop economic development strategies that will create jobs and build robust regional economies.
"Helping communities come together to address their needs regionally and collaboratively will mean a more efficient use of scarce federal resources," Vilsack said during a speech at a Brookings Institution conference on regional innovation. "As we seek to use existing resources more effectively, regionally focused economic development efforts will take advantage of locally-identified strengths to create jobs and help businesses expand in America's rural communities."
Projects funded as part of USDA's regional initiative will focus on strategic planning activities to improve economic conditions in rural areas, particularly in underserved communities. The initiative will help communities to connect and cluster their economies geographically based on their self-identified strengths, so they are able to increase productivity and build more robust, sustainable economies.
Today, Secretary Vilsack announced funding from two USDA Rural Development programs: Broadband funding through a Recovery Act program to help communities work together on a regional basis to develop strategic plans to attract broadband investment and best use their broadband capability for sustainable economic development, and the Rural Business Opportunity Grants program which support regional planning activities to improve economic conditions in rural areas.
For example, the California Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils has been selected to receive a $250,000 Rural Development Rural Business Opportunity Grant to develop a regional food system, add value to livestock processing and marketing, utilize biomass, and develop renewable energy and agricultural resources. The association will work with researchers, educators and economic development professionals from 18 organizations. The association is comprised of 11 councils that provide economic and natural resource conservation aid throughout California.
In South Dakota, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe has been selected to receive a $195,750 Broadband Initiatives Program technical assistance grant to design a broadband network and build a state-of-the-art data center on tribal land. The client base for the data center will include customers who choose to locate their operations on tribal lands.
Also today, Secretary Vilsack announced the availability of $6.2 million in technical assistance to help rural communities develop their capacity to undertake economic development, housing and community facilities projects. The money will be provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Community Development Initiative. This program includes a focus on projects that will help develop and build strong regional economies.
Below is a list of applicants selected for funding, which is contingent upon recipients meeting the terms of their grant agreements. USDA values the commitment made by all of the applicants toward developing greater regional collaboration. Applicants who were not selected for Rural Business Opportunity Grant awards will be contacted by USDA in the coming weeks to explore how USDA and other Federal agencies may be able to help these communities further their regional efforts and strengthen their regional plans for future opportunities.
Rural Business Opportunity Grants
Tanana Chiefs Conference – $32,567
White Mountain Apache Tribe – $125,000
California Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils – $250,000
Bishop Paiute Tribe – $125,000
Coeur d'Alene Tribe – $106,925
Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development – $83,000
Four Directions Development Corporation – $250,000
Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation – $76,070
Sullivan County – $65,000
Sullivan Alliance – $221,077
Tioga County REAP, LDC – $111,400
Bottineau County EDC – $66,250
City of New England – $73,253
Prairie West Development – $74,000
City of Rolette – $29,500
Roosevelt-Cluster Regional Council – $78,700
Wind Hollow Foundation – $50,000
Ecotrust – $249,340
Northeastern Strategic Alliance, Inc. – $50,000
The Harvest Initiative, Inc. – $50,000
Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah – $50,000
Northern Community Investment Corp. – $147,020
Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association – $43,000
Northeast Forest Center – $25,000
Northeast Vermont Development Association – $55,800
Columbia Pacific Resources Conservation & Development – $50,000
Wind River Development Fund – $50,000
Broadband Initiative Program Technical Assistance Grants
Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska – $153,112
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe – $200,000
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes – $115,000
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe ¬– $47,380
Northeast Service Cooperative – $200,000
Arizona Nevada Tower Corporation - $164,300
Benton Ridge Telephone Company – $175,000
Consolidated Electric Cooperative – $200,000
Cherokee Nation – $200,000
Kaw Nation-Kaw Enterprise Development Authority – $177,500
Pioneer Long Distance, Inc. – $195,000
Warm Springs Telecommunications Company – $200,000
County of Orangeburg – $199,920
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe – $195,750
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate – $165,000
Utah and Nevada
Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation – $200,000
Scott County Telephone Cooperative – $199,920
Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe – $196,320
Quinault Indian Nation – $200,000
Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in the nation's capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).