JUNEAU, Alaska, March 29, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small today announced investments totaling more than $1 million to support business growth and job creation in Southeast Alaska. These projects uphold the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to strengthen economic, cultural, and natural resources sustainability in the Southeast Alaska region.
“Southeast Alaska’s vast resources and hardworking people create potential for economic growth and diversification,” Torres Small said. “USDA is working alongside the people of Southeast Alaska to create opportunities and support the local vision for sustainability. The investments we’re announcing today show the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to a diverse economy that honors the region’s rich cultural and natural resources.”
As part of the Value Added Producer Grant program, USDA is investing $250,000 in Sea to Shore Seafood, a small fishing operation in Petersburg, Alaska. This investment will be used to process salmon and distribute products into new markets. It also will improve sales while remaining committed to sustainable, traceable fishing.
As part of the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy Grant program, USDA is investing $740,000 in Spruce Root, a branch of the regional tribal corporation Sealaska. Spruce Root provides local entrepreneurs access to business development and financial resources in the form of loan capital, business coaching, workshops, and competitions. The investment is already being used to identify and create jobs, then train Alaskans to fill those jobs by making connections between tribal villages and the industry clusters that show potential for growth in Southeast Alaska.
Torres Small and USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson are in Juneau to meet with community and tribal partners and learn more about how the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy can support locally driven, long-term solutions for the region. Through this strategy, USDA is collaborating with Tribes, Alaska Native corporations, partners and communities to identify additional investments that will support economic growth, natural resources and community well-being in the region. The Department is committed to strengthening small businesses, expanding broadband reliability, increasing renewable energy production, and supporting local foods and agriculture production, water and sewer infrastructure, health care, housing and outdoor tourism in southeast Alaska.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ak.
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