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The Rural Developer - 1st Quarter 2007


1st Quarter 2007

In this issue:

>NREDA Updates

>Sharing Success

>Rural Resources

>Grants & Funding

>Conferences & Training

Have you renewed your 2007 membership investment in NREDA?
director@nreda.orgfor more details.

Change of Address?
Update your membership information:

Share Your News
Share tips, success stories or recent news with fellow rural developers. Email the info to Molly Lopez,

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NREDA moves to a new office
NREDA headquarters have moved to a new office building, however, the telephone number, fax number and e-mail addresses will remain the same.

The new location is:
National Rural Economic Developers Association
East Grand Office Park
100 East Grand Avenue, Suite 330
Des Moines, IA 50309

Plan now for NREDA Conference 2007
The NREDA 2007 Annual Conference will be held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, November 4-6, 2007.The NREDA board meeting will take place the afternoon of Saturday, November 3. Optional recreational activities will begin the morning of Sunday, November 4 with a New Member Orientation scheduled at 3:30 p.m. The conference will kickoff at 4:30 pm. It concludes at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6.

Rooms are available at the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort at Grande Dunes. Use the link below to make your room reservation. Because this is a popular resort and conference destination, it is highly recommended that you make your room reservations early.

NREDA Web site beefs up benefits
Visit to experience some of the many exciting new site enhancements for members, including:

  • a more user-friendly format with easier navigation tools,
  • the NEW Calendar of Events feature,
  • a searchable database of the NREDA membership,
  • archived newsletters,
  • an expanded resource links page,
  • NREDA member-managed account feature (for convenient, personal records updating),
  • and much, much, more!
Future plans include online conference and seminar registration options. Please take a moment to tour the Web site and give us some feedback. We are especially interested in your comments regarding the ease of navigation and the content of the site. We hope to continue to improve it with your help!

Board aims to strengthen partnerships
Following a hard-hitting strategic planning session in January, the NREDA board of directors agreed to take action to strengthen partnerships with other local, state and national economic development organizations. In addition, NREDA President Sherry Rose is using the podium to promote NREDA to traditional cooperative organizations.

In February, Rose served as a presenter at the NRTC Annual Meeting. Rose addressed the ABCs of rural development and emphasized NREDA's role in assisting developers. She will continue to promote rural development at an economic development summit hosted by the National Telephone Cooperative Association along with former RUS Administrator Hilda Legg.

Change in officers announced
NREDA's slate of officers has changed due to the recent resignation of Bruce Hensley, 1st vice president. Citing work related responsibilities Hensley notified NREDA of his decision in February. "While we will miss Bruce Hensley's Hawaiian attire and sarcastic wit, we wish him well as he focuses his priorities in other directions," said President Sherry Rose.

Pat Merritt and Henry Fischer will move up the executive ladder to become 1st and 2nd vice president, respectfully. The appointment for secretary treasurer for 2007 will be announced in March 2007.

Members give audio conference two thumbs up!
The NREDA audio conference "Community and Economic Development 101" held on December 6th earned positive reviews from all participants. Participants surveyed said the conference provided the right amount of basic information, as well as useful ideas and proven development strategies that work in rural communities.

Presented by Pat Merritt of Georgia EMCs, the class included a PowerPoint presentation for participants to follow along with. Afterward, some participants indicated an interactive video conference or "webinair" might be a better way to conduct such courses. NREDA is taking all suggestions into consideration for 2007. Thanks to all participants for honest, useful feedback!

NREDA Membership: Time to reinvest in membership
It's time to pay 2007 dues for NREDA. The attached brochure gives complete details on levels of membership and fees, plus provides a place for you to share your information and areas of expertise with other members. Membership dues support the ongoing efforts of NREDA to support rural development via networking, the annual conference, membership directory, regional training and other benefits.

Download Membership Brochure

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Great River Energy goes green
Teresa LaCanne of Great River Energy shares news of her co-op's new "green" office campus in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Housing 350 employees, Great River Energy's new 300,000 square foot headquarters will be one of the most energy efficient buildings in the world. She shares more details on this facility, their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process, and the subsequent savings in energy costs, in this full-length article.


How to get things done in economic development
Economic development is more than grants. It involves financial and political resources, and an enormous commitment to relationship building. NREDA member Rick Shortell shares tips gleaned from his development experience in Union County, Ohio, where a countywide Chamber of Commerce, the office of economic development, and Union County Rural Electric Cooperative are proving smart public-private partnerships work.


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Help local farmers think outside the box
Farmers interested in moving toward non-traditional agricultural operations often hit a wall when it comes to lending opportunities. To help farmers transition to organic crops or other nontraditional types of agriculture, the Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA offers The Farmer's Guide to Agricultural Credit. The guide provides step-by-step advice on financing non-traditional farm-based enterprises and helps lenders understand how to evaluate risks and benefits of nontraditional crops. The guide also outlines how lenders evaluate loan applications, how to communicate ideas to lenders, and what resources are available to help along the way. The Farmer's Guide is available online at

Help small businesses in your community
SmallBizUâ„¢ (SBU) is a free online resource that can help build skills in the three "Ms" of money, management and marketing - the core skills that entrepreneurs and small business owners need. Some co-ops make SBU available to their local communities via their co-op's Web site, so they become an even more valued partner to local businesses, Chamber of Commerce, schools, libraries, economic development groups and more. A self-tutorial, SBU consists of 24 core courses, including Creating a Loan Package, Attracting Investors, Promotions and Marketing 101, and Buying a Business. Features include:

  • More than 4,000 animated slides with voice-over narration
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Worksheets and toolsets
  • A comprehensive knowledgebase
For details on Small Business University, and how you can get involved, visit the Community and Economic Development section of

Who are your customers?
Get the latest update on socioeconomic conditions in rural America in the USDA Economic Research Service's 2006 edition of Rural America at-a-Glance.

Covering employment, tourism, housing, population, poverty and other data, some of the demographic highlights include:

  • Up to 30 percent of the population growth in most non-metro areas from 2000-2005 was due to international migration. International migration accounted for 100 percent of growth in the Midwest.
  • The graying of rural America increased 7.8 percent (40-59 years old) while the non-metro population under age 20 declined by 5.3 percent.
  • Nothing has significantly changed about the poorer health and more physical limitations that rural residents have compared to metro residents.
  • 34 percent of non-metro counties lost employment between 2004-2005. However, overall employment increased by 1.4 percent in non-metro counties in 2004-2005.
  • Internet use in metro households was 62 percent, compared to 51 percent in non-metro households.
How is your organization responding to these demographics? Some co-ops are supporting assisted-living facilities, providing bilingual customer service, broadband and Internet service and supporting a host of other services to improve local quality of life. For details, download the
Rural America at-a-Glance brochure.

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From the NRECA Community Catalyst
Next REDL&G Applications due March 30th
In most states, third quarter REDL&G applications are due by March 30. Check with your
state Rural Development office for the date and any state specific application forms. Although there is no federal 2007 budget yet, the announcement in the December Catalyst about the Rural Business Cooperative Service's increasing the 2007 ceiling for REDL&G loans to $1,040,000 still stands.

USDA expects Congress to approve $34.65 in million REDL&G loan funds, about $10 million more than FY2006. Federal legislation sets the maximum individual loan amount at three percent of the year's total funding level. The maximum grant amount should remain at $300,000 based on the grant funding budget of $10 million (3 percent of $10 million). Visit the REDL&G section of the C&ED Community to view a spread sheet with the complete REDL&G award listing. Check with your
state Rural Development office for application deadlines, for state–specific application requirements and for assistance in making your application as competitive as possible.


March 18-20 - Arlington, VA
2007 Federal Economic Development Forum

March 21 - Las Vegas, NV
CFC Annual Meeting

April 1-4 - Seattle,WA
NBIA International Conference on Business Incubation

May 2-4 - St. Louis, MO
Exploring Innovation, A Conference Devoted to Community Development Finance

May 15 - Miami, FL
Branding Your Community

May 15-18 - Miami, FL
Connect 2007 Conference & Exp

June 5-7 - Nebraska City, NE
National e@ Energizing Entrepreneurs Institute

June 25 - Denver, CO
NRECA C&ED 101, Tri-State G&T

June 26 - Denver, CO
Financing Forum, Tri-State G&T

June 27 - Denver, CO
NREDA Board Meeting, Tri-State G&T

July 31 - Denver, CO
2007 Cooperative Research Network Member Summit

November 5-7 - Myrtle Beach, SC
2007 NREDA Annual Conference

The Rural Developer E-Bulletin is published
monthly for members of the
National Rural Economic Developers Association
100 East Grand Avenue, Suite 330 Des Moines, IA 50309
Tele: 515-284-1421 FAX 515-243-2049

NREDA | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway | Ankeny, IA 50023 | Phone: (515) 284-1421 | Fax: (515) 334-1174