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The Rural Developer - 1st Quarter 2008


Quarter I, 2008

In this issue:

Thinking Big in Bioscience

If you Build it, Will They Come?

What's Right with Rural America

NREDA Regional Workshop

East Central Energy Wins Award

Wind Power Plant for Franklin County

Rural Broadband Site

Targeting Gen X, Y and beyond

Community Funding from Target

REDL&G Financing for 2008

Upcoming Events

2008 Board of Directors

Pat Merritt, president
Henry Fischer, 1st vice president
Rick Shortell, 2nd vice president
Rick Nelson, secretary-treas.
Sherry Rose, past president

Fred Baughman
Andrea Cumpston
Brad Captain
Bobby Davis
Lori Fischetti
Mark Gaddy
Clare Gustin
Tom Lambrecht
Karen Mitchell Jane Marden
Bob Muirhead Eric Phillips
Linda Salmonson
Stan Williamson
Linda Yohon

2008 Committee Chairs
Fred Baughman, Awards
Karen Mitchell, Legislative/Government Affairs
Henry Fischer, Annual Conference
Eric Phillips, Membership
Bob Muirhead, Professional Development

NREDA members appreciate sharing ideas, suggestions, and development solutions. What's going on in your area? Is there a resource or solution you think other member should know about? Let us know:

Change of address?
Update your membership information at

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Thinking Big in Bioscience
Bioscience and biotechnology within plant, animal and human life sciences holds promise for rural areas, particularly in farm states like Kansas. Angela Kreps, president of KansasBio, spoke to NREDA members at the 2007 conference. Kreps says the bioscience industry will encompass 18-20 percent of the global economy in next twenty years. More >>


If You Build it, Will They Come?
If your small town doesn't have an industrial site, chances are good the topic is on the agenda. Can site readiness guarantee success in site location decisions?

Kimberley Williams consultant for McCallum Sweeney Consulting (MSC) in Greenville, SC, says no, however lack of site readiness will most certainly guarantee failure. Williams offered her advice to rural developers with industrial park dreams, at the 2007 NREDA Conference.
More >>

Pat Merritt

NREDA President asks "What's right with rural America?"
We are bombarded daily by media stories that tell us what's wrong with our communities. NREDA President Pat Merritt says, "It's time to turn that around and tell everyone what's right with our communities." In this column to members, Merritt targets three key areas, why they should be celebrated and how to emphasize these areas to build a sustainable rural America.
More >>

Get savvy at the NREDA Regional Workshop in June
Why wait until the NREDA conference to hone the skills that will help your rural community? NREDA 's regional workshop on June 24th-25th will present lively discussion on topics rural developers contend with daily. Bob Muirhead, chairman of the NREDA regional training committee, said topics include:

  1. Sustainable Community Economic Development
  2. Planning for Quality Growth
  3. Case study
  4. Finance applications success stories
  5. Resource round tables with experts

The workshop takes place at Wabash Valley Power Association, 722 N High School Road, Indianapolis, IN 46214. Workshop will begin at 1 pm on June 24th and conclude at noon on June 25th.

For more details, please contact Bob Muirhead at or 785-650-2502.

East Central Energy Wins Community Investment Award
When a manufacturer announced its decision to close, Cambridge, Minnesota was in danger of losing 100 jobs. Rather than wringing their hands, East Central Energy and Great River Energy went to work, helping another local company expand through economic development financing. For their efforts, ECE earned a 2008 Community Investment Award from NRECA.
More >>

Member-to-Member: Wind Power Plant for Franklin County
NREDA member Karen Mitchell of Franklin County Development Association says her area is primed for the development of a 500-megawatt wind farm. The project represents a potential investment of some $1 billion dollars.
More >>

Welcome New NREDA Members
Linda King, Northwestern Rural Electric Co-op, Cambridge Springs, PA.
(814) 398-5303,

Lori Fischetti, NTCA, Arlington, VA.
(703) 351-2000,

Cindy Wallace, Russell County Economic Development, Russell, KS.
(785) 483-6960,

Who are you going to call? NREDA!
Your NREDA membership means you've got friends with a broad range of economic development expertise. These friends are happy to share their knowledge on REDL&G financing, community arts development, biofuels, renewable energy, venture capital, agri-tourism and more. See the NREDA member directory for list of members and their particular development niche.

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USDA, FCC Launch Rural Broadband Site
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today launched a new online resource that can be used to help deliver broadband services to rural communities.

The "Broadband Opportunities for Rural America" web site makes the expertise and resources of USDA and the FCC available in a single, easily accessible location and user-friendly format. The site provides information on the different technology platforms that can be used to provide broadband service, how to access the spectrum necessary to deliver wireless broadband services, the availability of government funding for broadband services, relevant USDA and FCC proceedings and initiatives, and data on broadband deployment.

In addition, the site provides instructions on how to locate licensed companies capable of providing wireless services in or near rural communities. It includes links to various government and private resources related to encouraging broadband opportunities in rural America.

Two New Initiatives Aim to 'Innovate' and 'Accelerate' Wisconsin
From SSTI Weekly Digest:
With the goal of remaining globally competitive, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's new Innovate Wisconsin initiative offers tax incentives to encourage manufacturers to increase R&D. Accelerate Wisconsin is an initiative to encourage new start-up businesses through grants, loans and tax credits. Both initiatives are part of the next phase of a plan to jumpstart the state's economy through investments. More information on the Innovate Wisconsin initiative is available from the governor's press office.

National Summit on Entrepreneurship Takes New Direction
The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) will host a gathering in 2008 at the National Summit on Entrepreneurship, May 20-23, in Anaheim, California. AEO will be expanding, and they hope to bring together those involved in economic development to explore how to work together to build local economies -- strong, sustainable, economically viable communities that can be developed through energetic and committed partnerships within and outside of the micro enterprise development field. Join AEO as they embark on a new vision, discussing such issues as creating markets for entrepreneurs, going green, buying local, urban/rural collaborations, and much more. Information about the summit is available on the AEO website.

North Iowa Venture Capital Fund II is Largest in State
The NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center announced the formation of a second venture capital fund. The North Iowa Venture Capital Fund II is comprised of 67 investors from 20 cities across North Iowa and is funded at $2,210,000, eclipsing the first fund's $1,670,000. This makes it the largest community based venture capital fund in the state of Iowa. Taken together, the two funds have provided nearly $4 million in capital to help start and grow business in North Iowa and throughout the state. To learn about other things NIACC is doing, see the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship case study.

Targeting Gen X, Y, and beyond
Like many states, Iowa faces some major demographic challenges. Its workforce is rapidly aging, and future workforce shortages loom. Meanwhile, many of Iowa's younger and more educated workers leave the state for opportunities in larger metropolitan areas. To address these challenges, the Iowa Legislature created the Generation Iowa Commission, composed of young leaders between the ages of 18 and 35, to offer recommendations on how Iowa can better nurture, attract and retain young professionals. The Commission has recently published its final report that contains ideas for how Iowa—or other communities--could make itself more attractive to Generations X, Y, and beyond.
Learn more >>

New Resource: Entrepreneurial Development in the Food Sector
Do you have a client that needs help with commercially processing food? Or are you looking for programs that are helping local food businesses thrive? The Association for Enterprise Development has resources available on food entrepreneurship, including an updated Program Guide on Entrepreneurial Development in the Food Sector, which includes nearly 40 programs across the country that are working with food entrepreneurs.

Christian Science Monitor Features Article on Reviving Rural Areas
From Ten Sleep, Wyoming to Fitzgerald, Georgia, small town economies get a boost by branching out beyond cotton and cornfields to encourage high tech opportunities.
Get the full story >>

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Source: NRECA Community Catalyst
Target targets community giving
Target Stores in 47 states across the country invest five percent of their profits in supporting local arts, education and family services. Nationwide, these contributions average $3 million a week. Local Target employees who know the community and its needs make most funding decisions.
Learn more about corporation's local and the national grant and volunteer programs >>

$8 Million increase for 2008 REDL&G funding
President Bush recently signed the 2008 Omnibus Spending Bill that provides $33,077,000 for REDL&G loans, an increase of just over $8 million over 2007. The grant portion of the program remains at $10 million. March 31 is the deadline for third quarter applications in most states. Since Congress approved the additional funding almost half way through the fiscal year, it will be awarded for applications submitted during the third and fourth quarters. Contact your state Rural Development office for more information and state specific requirements and visit the C&ED's REDL&G section

Quick links to grants and other good stuff
For rural and volunteer fire departments, visit USDA Fire and Aviation Management. Grants for museums, architectural conservation, and education and training, visit the Getty Foundation.

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March 11-13, 2008
National Home Town Competitiveness Academy

May 13-16, 2008 - Portland, OR
Connect 2008

May 20-23, 2008 - Anaheim, CA
National Summit on Entrepreneurship

June 16-18, 2008 - Phoenix, AZ
CFC Forum 2008

June 17-10, 2008 - San Diego, CA
Bio International Convention

June 25-26, 2008 - Wabash Valley Power Association, Indianapolis, IN
NREDA 2008 Regional Professional Development Conference
(Information Available Soon on the NREDA Web site!)

July 29-30, 2008 - Nashville, TN
CRN Summit

November 9-11, 2008 - Kansas City, KS
2008 NREDA 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