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Southwest REAP Zone

Annual Reports: 2009, 2008, 2007

Lead Entity: Southwest REAP Zone, North Dakota

Demographics: Includes the counties of Dunn, Stark, Hettinger, Adams, Bowman, Slope, Golden Valley, Billings, and part of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation

Background: USDA has undertaken a pilot program entitled, Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) to implement new and innovative approaches to community economic development that are based on cooperation, partnership and sustainability. Generally, over the last decade rural limited resource areas have had a steady decline in both public/private business and service. Also, these areas are low in population density, have limited economic diversification and have above average out-migration. One intent of the REAP pilot project is to utilize federal, state and local public and private resources in cooperation and partnership to efficiently and effectively address the problem of out-migration. The resources provided will target new wealth creation through economic diversification and the development of primary sector job opportunities.

Purpose: The REAP pilot program is established to assist in the mitigation of the negative effects of continued out-migration and population loss. If out-migration and population loss were to continue over the next few decades, as it has in the past, there may not be enough critical mass of population or public and private services to maintain the desired quality of life for which local citizens aspire.

The task of slowing this negative trend, much less stopping it or hopefully reversing its direction, is of such magnitude that only a targeted, committed, and good-willed effort by all parties will effectively meet the challenge. Through intense leadership training and community involvement, it is the goal of all parties concerned to establish a sustainable economic development structure and process within the REAP Zones which will help local citizens to more effectively take charge of their future.

Strategic Plan Highlights

  • Develop working relationships between Southwest REAP Zone Communities by exploring and supporting technologically oriented projects to be completed by the two communities in the SW REAP Zone, creating regional public relations programs, and continuing a public education campaign to persuade community cooperation in the Zone.
  • Promote opportunities for existing and new businesses by promoting the development of a regional tourism plan, increasing value-added agriculture opportunities, and by creating a seed investment fund to start-up businesses in the SW REAP Zone. Other promotional ideas include development of new business through outsourcing of Government sources and employment, promotion of entrepreneurial home-based businesses and jobs, preplanning of industrial parks in key areas within the region, and capitalization of the REAP investment revolving loan fund to $3 million.
  • Design and implement solutions to stem out-migration: identify and pursue future job markets, target education and programs to the job markets, identify and enhance recreational activities as well as cultural activities, and challenge the validity of Government consolidation.
  • Promote infrastructure projects such as health, housing and community facilities: explore opportunities for projects which complement the SW REAP Zone.


Shirley Brentrup
Executive Director


635 Oak Street

Dickenson, ND 56801




Last Modified:12/14/2011 
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