Washington, DC, Sep 23, 2010 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today during a speech at a Brookings Institute conference about regional innovation, that the California Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils (CARC&DC) has been selected to receive a $250,000 Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) from USDA Rural Development.
"Helping rural communities come together to create economic development strategies utilizing existing resources and capacities helps them become strong, self-sustaining communities," said Glenda Humiston, USDA Rural Development State Director. "The efforts of this project will not only create jobs and help businesses in select regions, but create models that can be replicated through the rest of the state and nation."
The CARC&DC will use funds to work in partnership with researchers, educators and economic development professionals from 18 organizations across the state to foster development and growth of locally-based businesses in four regions throughout California. These efforts will include developing a regional food system, adding value to livestock processing and marketing, utilizing biomass, and developing alternative energy and agriculture resources.
The Resource Conservation and Development Program was authorized by Congress in 1962, and administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). CARC&DC represents the interests of California's 12 RC&D Councils and works closely with NRCS and Rural Development to assist the Councils plan and implement conservation and economic development projects to enhance local communities.
"We are excited that California's Resource Conservation & Development councils were the recipient of this important grant and know that the identified counties will benefit greatly from this funding," said Ed Burton, NRCS California State Conservationist.
Valerie Klinefelter, President of the CARC&DC observed, "The California Association of RC&D Councils is delighted to provide leadership for a wide array of partners working together to improve economic opportunities in rural California."
The RBOG program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs through provision of training and technical assistance for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and to assist with economic development planning.
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.
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