Northern Tier’s “Stronger Economies Together” Team
Working on Regional Issues
HARRISBURG, Feb. 4, 2011 – In July of 2010, a regional group led by the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission was awarded the opportunity to participate in a program that offers training and technical assistance through the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program. This program, sponsored by USDA Rural Development in conjunction with the Northeast Regional Rural Development Center and Penn State Extension, is part of a nationwide effort. Northern Tier was one of two Pennsylvania regional teams selected after a competitive application process. The Northern Tier region encompasses Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Wyoming counties.
The SET program is focused on working with regional groups to encourage and strengthen regional thinking and developing information and strategies to address issues affecting the region. As the result of a process of discussion and consideration of the many possible topics that the Northern Tier team might consider, those participating decided to focus on five issues relating to the development of Marcellus Shale. The working groups for these five issues include:
1) Regional Data Collection – focusing on gathering data related to Marcellus Shale activities to establish a baseline and understanding more fully the effects of Marcellus Shale and how to react to those effects more efficiently allowing for continued data collection to assess changes in the local economy, housing, water quality and other indicators important to understanding change in the region.
2) Regional Networking – focusing on building regional networks in a variety of areas to be able to share information and collaborate more efficiently. This includes sharing information among areas further along in Marcellus development and those just beginning to experience that development.
3) Regional Agricultural Transitioning – focusing on transitioning agricultural assets so that agriculture and the agricultural heritage of the region are retained in the midst of changes related to Marcellus Shale.
4) Regional Land Use & Planning – focusing on educating the public and public officials in the region on the importance of land use planning to improve quality of life in the region.
5) Keeping regional dollars in the region – focusing on retaining the financial assets created by Marcellus Shale within the region.
6) If you are interested in learning more about SET, please contact Jill Koski, Economic Development Program Manager of the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission at 570-265-1529 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7) USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs. 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.
8) For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Pennsylvania State Office at (717) 237-2299 or visit its website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/pa.