Washington, Oct 04, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding awards that will support rural communities, help create jobs and build regional economies in 34 states. Vilsack made the announcement during the Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods Conference, sponsored by the USDA Economic Research Service and the Ford Foundation.
"The funds I am announcing today will help local business leaders, communities, and disadvantaged agricultural producers take more of a collaborative and regional approach toward jobs creation, business development and economic growth,” said Vilsack.
Projects funded as part of USDA's regional initiative will focus on strategic planning activities to improve economic conditions in rural areas, particularly in underserved communities. The initiative will help communities to connect and cluster their economies geographically based on their self-identified strengths, so they are able to increase productivity and build more robust, sustainable economies.
The Secretary announced investments through the Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG) program which supports regional planning activities to improve economic conditions in rural areas; the Small and Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant program, and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, which support job creation efforts, business development and strengthens economic growth in rural communities.
For example, in Wisconsin, the Great Lakes Inter Tribal Council, Inc. was selected to receive grant funds that will be used to provide technical assistance to tribal enterprises and Indian businesses located on the reservation or businesses off the reservation that directly benefit the economy of the reservation. The technical assistance provided will include developing a business and marketing plan; securing development financing; and gaining access to tribal, state, and federal business assistance and financing. The Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, located in Platteville, was also selected, to receive a grant to provide technical assistance to develop a local food prospectus for rural areas in the tri-state region of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.
In Verona, Wis., The Spring Rose Growers Coop has been selected to receive a grant under the Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant program to be used to provide technical assistance to small producers throughout Dane County, Wisconsin.
For a complete list of applicants selected for funding, which is contingent upon recipients meeting the terms of their agreements, please click here.
On September 8, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act in an address to Congress. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. The American Jobs Act is specific. It will put people back to work right now, and it will not add to the deficit. Through a combination of direct spending, such as infrastructure investments, and tax relief, such as an extension of the payroll tax cuts, it will lead to new American jobs.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As the lead federal agency for rural development needs, USDA Rural Development returned nearly $936 million dollars this past year to rural Wisconsin communities. Funds are used to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technological infrastructures. Further information on USDA Rural Development programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting the web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/wi.
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