Fitzgerald, GA, Feb 29, 2012 -- USDA Leads Rural Economic Development Strategy Session at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
USDA Rural Development , Acting State Director Quinton Robinson today met with local and regional economic development officials to discuss ways Rural Development can help businesses create jobs and spur economic development. This meeting kicks off private public collaborations on how Georgia Rural Development program dollars can be targeted to entities actively promoting technical education, and rural manufacturing infrastructure. Strategies for effective collaboration with USDA RD were discussed.
“Now is a very dynamic time in rural Georgia, and we are here as your partner in improving the economy,” Robinson told more than a dozen economic development professionals at the Charles Harris Learning Center on the Ben Hill-Irwin Campus of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. “Each year, Rural Development helps create jobs by investing in local infrastructure, businesses, and community facility projects such as schools, hospitals, police and fire stations.”
Speaking earlier today at the “Make It” in South Georgia Ag Symposium, Robinson emphasized how successful agricultural processing and innovation are integral to rural economic stability and job creation. USDA Rural Development has been a key partner to many of the area’s businesses. For example, Paulk Vineyards Inc. received a $126,350 Rural Development Value Added Producer Grant in 2003 to enhance the value of muscadines into anti-oxidant packed “Purple Power” powders and juice. Paulk Vineyards is the largest grower of muscadine grapes in the world. This month, nine other Georgia businesses received Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $1.9 million. Funding is to provide working capital to the following recipients: Cartecay Vineyards, LLC, Ellijay, Ga, Flint River Farmers Cooperative, Newton, Ga, Georgia Buffalo, Inc, Brunswick, Ga, Hillside Orchard Farms, Inc, Tiger, Ga, Jubilee Organic Creamery, Inc, Butler, Ga, Lane Packing, LLC, Ft. Valley, Ga, Lauri-Jo’s Southern Style Canning, LLC, Norman Park, Ga, Lil Mog, LLC, Colquitt, Ga, and White Oak Pastures, Inc. Bluffton, Ga.
“These projects will provide access to capital, produce financial returns, and help create jobs for agricultural producers, businesses and families throughout rural Georgia” Robinson said. Value Added Producer Grants may be used for planning activities and working capital to market value-added agricultural products and farm-based renewable energy.
USDA Rural Development based in Athens, GA, oversees a portfolio of approximately $500 million for Housing, Business and Community Facilities Programs. Committed to the future of rural communities, RD improves the quality of life for people living in small, rural communities by providing loans, grants and technical assistance. Rural Development programs affect every rural community in Georgia. For more information visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/GAHome.html
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