News Release
Release No.STELPRD4017607
ContactDeborah Callahan706-546-2162
Athens, GA, Jul 27, 2012 --

@@USDA Rural Development, in conjunction with Fort Valley State University Cooperative Extension, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Regional Commissions, and other state and local partners, has selected two rural multi-county regions in Georgia to be included in a program called “Stronger Economies Together” (SET). The two selected regional teams are Southwest Georgia SET Team, encompassing the counties of Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Tift and Worth; and East Central Georgia Initiative (ECG), encompassing the counties of Montgomery, Treutlen, Toombs, Johnson and Emanuel. These teams were selected from a total of eight applications received by the May 4, 2012 deadline.

SET is a program designed to help regional teams develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities. The SET program is an opportunity for current or newly formed multi-county teams to receive the latest tools, training, and technical assistance to help their region move forward and take advantage of positive growth and quality of life opportunities. “We hear from across the country that SET enables rural citizens to work together to determine their region’s future,” said Doug O’Brien, Deputy Under Secretary, USDA Rural Development.

The selected applicants will receive the following: 1) Valuable intensive strategic planning training for their regional team, including the newly developed “Stronger Economies Together” program, a program designed to help the regional teams develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities; 2) Database tools specifically designed to help the regional teams examine the critical drivers of their region and identify emerging growth sectors and regional competitive advantages; 3) Technical assistance and educational support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Community Affairs, Regional Commissions and Fort Valley State University Extension and 4) Other educational and information-sharing opportunities with other SET program participants around the country.

USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal agency for rural development needs by offering financial and technical assistance to individuals, businesses and communities. USDA Rural Development programs include funding for day care centers, fire trucks and other community facility projects; the purchase, construction or repair of homes; loans and guarantees to rural businesses to save or create jobs and renewable energy; and loans and grants for water and sewer utility projects. For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Georgia State Office at (706) 546-2162 or visit its website at


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).