Alexandria, Oct 26, 2010 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence Hawkins, announced the launch of the “Stronger Economies Together” (SET) Program. SET is a regionalism effort led by the Regional Rural Development Centers and USDA Rural Development, in conjunction with various university extension services. Louisiana’s partners consist of individuals from USDA Rural Development, Louisiana Economic Development, and the AgCenters at Louisiana State University and Southern University. Louisiana was one of eight states selected for participation in this national pilot project and are one of only two states to have more than two regions selected.
Rural Development State Director Hawkins said, “By developing regional strategies, communities can leverage resources and build stronger regional economies.” The official kickoff today will be the start of the teams planning sessions as they work with the recipients developing new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities by utilizing the latest tools, training, and technical assistance to move forward and take advantage of positive growth and quality of life opportunities for their communities.
Over 60 people were present for the launch of the “Stronger Economies Together” (SET) Program. Regions selected for participation include the Louisiana Delta Coalition which covers the parishes of East Carroll, Franklin, Madison, Morehouse, Richland, Tensas, West Carroll, Concordia, Catahoula, Jackson, and Ouachita. The Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana Cooperative Development Initiative based in New Roads, encompasses both Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana Parishes. The Northshore Parishes Alliance is comprised of St. Helena, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes. The Acadiana Regional Development District covers an eight parish area of the state known as Acadiana, which includes the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion. Coordinating and Development Corporation, a Shreveport based organization, encompasses the parishes of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, and Webster parishes in Louisiana.
USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal agency for rural development needs by offering financial and technical assistance to individuals, businesses and communities. USDA Rural Development programs include funding for day care centers, fire trucks and other community facility projects; the purchase, construction or repair of homes; loans and guarantees to rural businesses to save or create jobs and renewable energy; and loans and grants for water and sewer utility projects. For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Louisiana State Office at (318) 473-7922 or visit its website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/la/