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University of Nebraska Board of Regents Receives $165,970

Vicki Schurman
Release Date
Oct 27, 2016

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $7.6 million in grants to support projects that will grow opportunity in rural America through job training and economic development.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents is the recipient of a $165,970 Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) that will be used by the Nebraska Cooperative Development Center in Lincoln, Nebraska to provide targeted technical assistance and training in rural Nebraska’s Native American and Latino communities.  Partnering with the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Nebraska cooperative development business structure will be addressed through workshop education and individualized support to Native Americans, Latinos and women.  It is anticipated a minimum of five cooperative businesses will be formed addressing arts, poultry, livestock, fruit and vegetable production and marketing.   For more information on the SDGG program in Nebraska contact Deborah Drbal at 402-437-5558 or Deborah.drbal@ne.usda.gov.

“Data show that rural America is beginning to make a strong comeback after the worst recession in history, with rural unemployment currently at the lowest level since 2007, and rural incomes growing by 3.4 percent last year. This growth has been achieved in large part thanks to the work of cooperative and community-based economic development organizations like the ones receiving grants today, who are able to implement federal programs where they are most needed,” Vilsack said. “These awards will help bolster local and regional food systems, tap into the tourism potential that proximity to America’s beautiful natural resources provides, and help individuals learn new job skills. All of these efforts are part of USDA’s strategy for a strong rural economy and will help to sustain the recovery that we have begun to see in our smallest towns.”

USDA is awarding the funding through the Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) and Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) programs.

The Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant program provides technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas through cooperatives and Cooperative Development Centers.  Examples of technical assistance include leadership training, feasibility studies, business plans and strategic planning. 

RCDI grants help community-based development organizations, federally-recognized Indian tribes and other groups promote economic development in low-income, rural communities. The grants are awarded to public or nonprofit entities that are skilled in economic development and rural job creation. Recipients are required to provide matching funds for this program.

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD ) has invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.

To read more about USDA’s investments in rural America and its successful turnaround, visit USDA's entry on Medium.com, Rural America Is Back in Business.