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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Economic Development Funding to Create Jobs, Economic Opportunity and Strengthen Rural Communities

DES MOINES, Iowa, August 14, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that 41 community-based organizations have been selected for funding to create jobs and support rural business development.

"USDA has a strong partnership with rural citizens and communities to bring increased economic opportunity," Vilsack said. "These grants are investments that will help organizations build the capacity and expertise of local businesses, which in turn will spur economic activity and strengthen rural economies. "

For example, in Polk County, the Iowa Economic Development Authority is receiving a $200,000 grant to help revitalize the historical commercial district. The authority will work with businesses on ways to highlight local events and community attractions, take advantage of tax credits, and promote local attractions through branding and marketing campaigns.

In Longmont, Colo., the First Nations Development Institute has been selected for a $50,000 grant to provide training and technical assistance to a Native American non-profit organization and two tribes to assist with capacity building. Zender Environmental Health and Research Group is receiving a $183,862 grant to train unemployed, rural Alaskan members in of seven Federally recognized Tribes for environmental technician jobs.

The funding announced today is being provided through the Rural Community Development Initiative Program (RCDI). It 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, which increase the value of the grants.

Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement. For a complete list of projects, click here.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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.


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