News Release
Release No.STELPRD4015300
ContactJon-Michael Muise802-257-7878 x106
Funding Available For Regional Economic Development Strategies
Montpelier, VT, Mar 22, 2012 --

@@ Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is seeking applications for grants to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development.  

   “This funding is part of the Obama administration’s commitment to using existing federal resources to foster regional innovation, create sustainable jobs and help ensure long-term prosperity,” Vilsack said.  “The funding will speed up job creation and new business start-ups and expansions by building regional economic systems in rural areas.

   USDA Rural Development plans to award up to $8.6 million through the Rural Community Development Initiative program.  Applications are sought for projects that:

    • Provide technical assistance to improve the capacity of local organizations to complete successful housing, economic development and community facilities projects;

    • Help recipients complete pre-development requirements – such as architectural and engineering plans;

    • Help development organizations improve their board operations, management and knowledge of financial and information technology systems;

    • Provide homeownership education or training for entrepreneurs.

   Part of the RCDI funds to be awarded may be used for projects associated with the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, which was announced on March 8, 2012. This initiative was designed by the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and the White House Rural Council.  Secretary Vilsack chairs the Council. The Jobs Accelerator is being funded by USDA, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The deadline for submitting RCDI applications is May 9, 2012. Applications for Vermont must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development state office City Center, 3rd Floor, 89 Main Street Montpelier, VT 05602. For more information, see page Pages 16519-16535 of the March 21, 2012 Federal Register or click here

The deadline to apply for RCDI funding for Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator projects is May 9, 2012. For more information on how to apply, please visit at   Applications for Jobs Accelerator projects must be submitted to both USDA and the EDA.

  “This program highlights the benefits of working together at the federal level to provide good jobs, build strong organizations and boost training for individuals in the State of Vermont. We look forward to putting some these dollars to work in the Green Mountain State, ” noted Molly Lambert, USDA Rural Development State Director.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices.  Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees.  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.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).