Albuquerque, NM, May 07, 2012 -- Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Judith Canales joined USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner in Anthony, New Mexico today to hold the state’s first “StrikeForce” meeting, which focused on bringing improved economic opportunity to Colonias communities.
“USDA Rural Development is excited to discuss how we can partner with and better serve the various organizations that work with Colonias residents living along the U.S.–Mexico border,” Canales said. “Forming partnerships with community- based organizations to provide better access to USDA resources is a key goal of the StrikeForce initiative.”
Created by USDA, the initiative is designed to combat persistent poverty in rural communities. Today’s meeting in Anthony marks the first of several that are being planned in rural communities across the state. The first phase began last year in Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi. Building on the success of those states, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada are leading the charge for the second phase of the initiative.
“StrikeForce is an aggressive, targeted effort by the USDA to affect change in some of our poorest communities,” said State Director Brunner, who is also spearheading the work of the StrikeForce. “Our partnerships with community organizations will help introduce underserved communities to USDA programs in agriculture, community and business development.”
The StrikeForce will be holding additional organizing meetings throughout the state to discuss ways the U.S. Department of Agriculture can work with local communities to reduce poverty.
Following the conclusion of today’s meeting, Canales and Brunner toured the Rio Valley Bio Fuels company in Anthony for a firsthand look at how expanded partnerships can provide successful business opportunities and create jobs. The company received two USDA Rural Development awards totaling more than $40,000 to expand its production of biodiesel.
The biodiesel fuel is made from waste vegetable oil supplied by a tortilla facility in El Paso, Texas. After the vegetable oil is refined, the company produces 500 to 1,000 gallons of biodiesel each day. Farmers and ranchers throughout southern New Mexico and West Texas are currently using the fuel developed by Rio Valley Bio Fuels in their trucks and for various farm and ranch machinery. Because of the expansion of its business, Rio Valley Bio Fuels has been able to hire more staff.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at any local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov
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