USDA Seeks Applications to Spur Job Creation, Economic Growth in Rural Areas

TEMPLE, March 21, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is seeking applications for grants to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development.

“This funding is part of the Obama administration’s commitment to using existing federal resources to foster regional innovation, create sustainable jobs and help ensure long-term prosperity,” Vilsack said. “The funding will speed up job creation and new business start-ups and expansions by building regional economic systems in rural areas.

USDA Rural Development plans to award up to $8.6 million through the Rural Community Development Initiative program. Applications are sought for projects that:

• Provide technical assistance to improve the capacity of local organizations to complete successful housing, economic development and community facilities projects;
• Help recipients complete pre-development requirements – such as architectural and engineering plans;
• Help development organizations improve their board operations, management and knowledge of financial and information technology systems;
• Provide homeownership education or training for entrepreneurs.

“Our mission at USDA Rural Development includes the creation and preservation of jobs in rural Texas,” said State Director Paco Valentin. “Investments offered through the Rural Community Development Initiative program will bring increased economic opportunity to rural residents and communities.”

Part of the RCDI funds to be awarded may be used for projects associated with the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, which was announced on March 8, 2012. This initiative was designed by the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and the White House Rural Council. Secretary Vilsack chairs the Council. The Jobs Accelerator is being funded by USDA, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The deadline for receipt of RCDI applications is May 9, 2012. Entities wishing to apply may download the application documents from Completed applications must be delivered to the Texas USDA Rural Development Office, 101 South Main, Suite 102, Temple, Texas 76501 or submitted electronically at by the deadline. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, see the March 21, 2012 issue of the Federal Register,, page 16519.

The deadline to apply for RCDI funding for Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator projects is May 9, 2012. For more information on how to apply, please visit Applications for Jobs Accelerator projects must be submitted to both USDA and the EDA.

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs and for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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