Hot Topics for Rural Developers
If you missed the 2007 NREDA Conference, be sure to catch up on conference highlights via links to brief summaries of presentations, plus links to available PowerPoint presentations. Three sessions are included, below, with more to come in upcoming issues of the Rural Developer.
- New Regionalism: World Class Strategies to
If your community wants to stay in the race, it's time to think regionally and adopt a global economic development strategy. Mark Drabenstott, director of the Rural Policy Research Institute, shares his advice.
- Ethanol: Will it Boost or Stymie the Rural Economy?
Corn-based ethanol was touted as the savior of the rural economy but that opinion is changing. Two NREDA conference speakers present their views on ethanol and how it could impact rural areas.
- NREDA Members Swap Ideas
What's happening in your area to further entrepreneurship? Workforce development? Promote energy efficient programs? NREDA members shared their views on such topics during breakout sessions at the NREDA Conference. The sessions prompted lively exchange among members; most said they'd like to continue the topic-based networking via listserv or otherwise. NREDA is considering these options and appreciates your input and/or suggestions. In the meantime, note from each breakout session are posted below.
Economic Development Partnerships
How to Promote Entrepreneurship
Workforce Development & Retention
How Rural Leaders Succeed: Case Studies
NREDA honored two rural leaders for their efforts to create new jobs and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Find out how these professionals, recipients of the Rural Economic Development Leadership Award, worked their magic by checking out their case studies, below:
Dennis Krueger, general manager of Kiwash Electric Cooperative, Cordell, Oklahoma, tapped into the REDL&G program to shift the struggling southwest Oklahoma economy from dependency on agriculture and oil industry to more small enterprise and entrepreneurs. Sharing Success: Vaughn, NM Gets a New Bank
JoAnne Lewis, executive director, Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority helped her rural Georgia region recover from a loss of 1,007 jobs due to off-shoring. In 2006, the area celebrated over $90 million in new investment and more than 450 new jobs.
When Wells Fargo Bank pulled out of Vaughn, New Mexico, the local telecommunications co-op partnered with a New Mexico-based credit union to keep financial services available on Main.
NREDA President Awards
NREDA President Sherry Rose recognized Bill Hagy, USDA Rural Development, for his work in championing the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDL&G) program. "Since its inception, REDL&G funds have helped 1,300 communities add 30,000 jobs and leverage millions for local rural sustainability," said Sherry Rose, NREDA president.
Rose also recognized NTCA for promoting greater rural economic development awareness via NTCA conferences. This year NTCA held its first annual Rural Economic Development Summit in Nashville, TN.
NREDA Board Will Meet in January
The NREDA board of directors will meet January 16-17 in Portland, OR to develop strategic plans for the coming year. Members are encouraged to contact board members with suggestions on conference topics, member networking, training, or benefits that would help NREDA better serve its membership.
New officers for 2008 are: Pat Merritt (Georgia EMC), president; Henry Fischer (St. Cloud Area Economic Development Partnership), first vice president; Rick Shortell (Union Rural Electric Co-op), second vice president; and Rick Nelsen (Nebraska Public Power District), secretary-treasurer. Newly elected directors include Bobby Davis (Brunswick EMC); and Eric Phillips (Union County/ Marysville Economic Development Partnership).
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Tools to Implement a Regional Plan
The U.S. Economic Development Administration recently funded the development of the "Know Your Region" project to provide development practitioners with tools to create and implement effective regional strategies in the increasingly global economy. The tools include a comprehensive curriculum, pod casts, links to relevant sources and funding organizations, tutorials, and movies. It's available free of charge on the project website.
Legislation on Biofuels Could Impact Your Area
Public policy on renewable fuels will impact your rural area. Get the details on ethanol bills currently before the 110th Congress by visiting the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Web site. The RFA public policy page is a valuable resource to developers who wish to stay up on biofuels legislation. They also include a list of congressional representatives serving on the Biofuels Caucus.
Scholarships Available for Entrepreneurship
Are you partnering with a local community college in your region? If so, please share this information with them: As part of its mission to promote entrepreneurship, the Coleman Foundation is generously providing scholarships for 100 community college professionals to attend the 2008 National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Conference on January 6-9 in San Antonio. The purpose of these scholarships is to introduce new attendees to the network of community colleges interested in entrepreneurship. The 2008 NACCE conference will be full of resources for you to take home and apply at your community college, as well as contacts with whom to share information.
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Source: NRECA Community Catalyst
Second Quarter REDL&G Applications Due by End of December
In most states, co-ops must submit applications to the state Rural Development office by December 31. Check the new REDL&G scoring system and complete REDL&G forms for additional information on the new rule issued May 2007.
Unless Congress passes a 2008 USDA appropriations bill, the maximum REDL&G loan remains at $740,000, the maximum grant at $300,000 and the maximum grant/loan combination at $1,040,000.
Grants Available to Promote Historic Places
Does your rural area include historically significant sites, events or buildings? The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) helps communities as well as local governments, schools, universities and non-profit organizations educate the general public about local culture and history by providing funding for heritage tourism. The NEH Interpreting America's Historic Places Implementation Grants support projects that are significant to American history, and convey that history to visitors. Applications are due to NEH by January 23, 2008.
Co-op Incentives to Promote Efficiency and Renewable Energy
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and CFC are working together to promote renewable projects and energy efficiency at DOI sites through the electric cooperatives. As part of this initiative, CFC will provide financing to the electric cooperatives for viable projects. Facilities such as military bases, National Park Service visitor centers, and schools on Indian reservations are some of the opportunities for updating electric efficiency. For more information, contact CFC's Leslie Ebert at (703) 709-6751
Online DUNS Number Registration
If your cooperative or community partners apply for federal funding, they may be asked to provide a DUNS number on their grant or loan application. The DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number is a unique nine-character number that identifies your organization and allows the federal government to track how federal money is distributed. More than 100 million institutions worldwide now have an assigned DUNS number. Your organization can obtain a DUNS number, usually within one business day, through a link on Grants.gov.