DENVER, July 23, 2013 –. USDA Rural Development announced today that it has extended the application deadline to October 1, 2013 for Phase IV of the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program in Colorado. Stronger Economies Together (SET) is an initiative launched in 2009 by USDA Rural Development in collaboration with the four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) and their land-grant university partners. The purpose of SET is to strengthen the capacity of communities and counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development plan that builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of their region.
Communities accepted into the SET program receive coaching, data analysis and technical assistance from USDA Rural Development to help them develop a regional approach to creating economic opportunity and job creation in rural communities. “Participating in the SET program helps communities understand their strengths and weaknesses, their shared regional economy, and provides them the tools they need to move forward in partnership with federal, state and local organizations”, said Trudy Kareus, Colorado Rural Development State Director. Selected regions consist of local leadership, businesses, individuals and community champions from diverse backgrounds from at least three contiguous counties who recognize the need to consider their economy in a new light. A copy of the application can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov/co under the Spotlight Section.
In an effort to support regional development in previously challenged areas, USDA Rural Development Offices across the country have been given the opportunity to designate Great Regions in their state to further this approach. These selected regions will receive additional technical assistance from Rural Development through 2015 which may improve funding opportunities for projects related back to their plan. In Colorado, the Raton Basin REDD and Region 10 have been selected to be the initial two Great Regions in Colorado. “Both of these entities have participated in the Stronger Economies Together (SET) Initiative at USDA and already have the broad based community commitment needed for success,” said Kareus.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.