The following is from Christine Sorensen, rural development coordinator for the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development in Pierre, S.D. Read on for valuable resources for rural communities, including several grant opportunities.
StrikeForce Outreach Meeting: USDA Agencies and Partners will be holding a StrikeForce Outreach Meeting in Rapid City on Wednesday. December 18, 2013. For more information regarding StrikeForce- click here .
South Dakota State University Extension, USDA Rural Development and others will be holding community support and resource meetings in the western part of the state mid-December; stay tuned for dates and times.
Rancher Relief Fund is Accepting Applications for Assistance – The Rancher Relief Fund is now accepting applications for assistance from livestock producers impacted by the blizzard. (SD Stockgrowers)
Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available – The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation is accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) as a result of the Presidential Disaster Declaration (FEMA 4155-DR).
MarketPlace 2014: March 26, 2014- Premiere Entrepreneurial event to be held in Aberdeen, SD. More Information .
Announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture  inviting applications for available funding through its Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program, and in order to assist producers with the application process, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released its latest guide on VAPG: the updated Farmers’ Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding . An NSAC press release on the announcement is available here . More USDA information can be found here .
Present your business plan for a chance to win $20,000 to put towards your business at the Governor’s Giant Vision Awards  in Sioux Falls on April 15, 2014; due February 14.
Small Business Administration-supported loans under $150,000 made after October 1 (the start of the new fiscal year) the fees on those loans will be set to zero. > Read more 
USDA Releases Annual Rural America at a Glance Report
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service  recently released the Rural America at a Glance, 2013  report, which highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas throughout the country. The study found job growth in nonmetro counties has stalled, poverty has spread, and the rural population shrank for the first time since the federal government started tracking this statistic. Click here  to view the full report.
Employment fell by roughly 5 percent in both rural and urban areas during the Great Recession of 2007-09. In 2010, the first year of the economic recovery, metro and nonmetro employment levels grew at comparable rates. A chart is found in Rural America at a Glance, 2013 Edition , released November 2013.
FACT SHEET : Strengthening New Market Opportunities in Local and Regional Food Systems: Highlight the rapid growth of local and regional marketing opportunities in American agriculture. Local and regional markets provide new opportunity in agriculture and expanded availability of fresh, local foods for all Americans.
5 ways to overcome barriers to youth engagement  – Engaging young people in community efforts can be easier said than done. Check out our list of five common challenges, along with possible solutions you can implement right away.
Most of our public problems – from crime to racial tensions to substance abuse – directly involve and affect young people. Yet there is little chance in most communities for adults and young people to come together to talk about public issues in a positive and respectful way. This discussion guide will help create opportunities for young people and adults to talk candidly about youth issues, develop new ideas, and work together to implement.
The Magic Job Multiplier of Manufacturing , #457 – November 12, 2013–Found a great report, with the above title, that provides a very reassuring future for manufacturing due to the Multiplier Effect.
Rural Veterans at a Glance  – Veterans possess education and skill levels that position them to contribute economically to rural communities. ERS presents a social and demographic profile of veterans residing in rural areas. November 07, 2013
Rural Connections: Immigration Issue summarizes the history of immigration to rural communities in the Western U.S., demographic trends, and the experiences of various populations throughout time. Describes disparities related to health and human services such as: transportation, housing, and health care access. Organization: Western Rural Development Center. Date: 11/2013. Journal: Rural Connections
Rural Utilities Service Status of Broadband Initiatives Program as of 8/26/13 Provides an overview of the impact that Rural Utility Service (RUS) funding has had on rural broadband initiatives working toward expanding access to education and health care and creating job opportunities. Summarizes fund allocations and lists data on new wireless access points, jobs created, and those receiving new or improved broadband services.
Registry of Pesticide & Fertilizer Sensitive Crop and Livestock Production Areas : The South Dakota Sensitive Site Registry is a tool which can be used to help prevent the adverse effects from drift during pesticide or fertilizer operations. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has created this site to provide information about farms and ranches that would be adversely affected by accidental fertilizer or pesticide application or drift.
Small Business Administration Woman-Owned Small Business Site : Provides resources to help women business owners to succeed. From registering your business, to hiring your first employee, to help you start and grow your small business.
I recently attended a wonderful conference on the Community Capitals Framework. This framework can assist you in the assessment of assets and challenges within your community as well as assist you in planning for improvement. Click here for more information .
RECORDED WEBINAR: Rethreading a Textile Heritage: One Stitch at a Time – here’s the link  to the webinar recording. It was a great webinar featuring Prezi technology! A link to the Prezi presentation will be provided as soon as we can.
WEBINAR: EcoTrust Canada‘s case study for the Citizen-Led Sustainable Change, December 5, 2013, 1-2 pm ET. You’ll learn more about their innovative economic model “at the intersection of conservation, community economic development, and community service.” Click here  to register or here  to learn more.
DOT Presentation from Formula Grants for Rural Areas Webinar Available – On November 7, the U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration  (FTA) hosted a webinar to discuss changes to the Formula Grants for Rural Areas The federal surface transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) , which was signed into law on July 6, 2012, made changes to this program. The webinar discussed these changes and the proposed rule. Click here  to access the webinar presentation.
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC), a national nonprofit organization that supports rural affordable housing efforts, has updated and enhanced its Rural Data Portal, located at www.ruraldataportal.org . The portal is a simple but powerful online resource that provides information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the U.S.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a tool to help consumers find local housing counseling agencies to answer their questions or address their concerns. The Bureau is releasing the tool in advance of the January 2014 effective dates for its mortgage rules. The Bureau also published guidance for lenders on how to provide mortgage applicants with a list of local homeownership counseling organizations. The tool can be accessed here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor/ 
Housing counselors throughout the country can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. Housing counselors can offer independent advice, often at little or no cost to consumers. The CFPB’s new mortgage rules require mortgage lenders to provide applicants with a list of local housing counselors.
Free Technical Assistance from Smart Growth America Applications Due December 6
Smart Growth America , through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities’ Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program , is offering free technical assistance to help communities implement smart growth strategies to build stronger economies while protecting human health and the environment. Any unit or subdivision of local, tribal, or regional government is eligible to apply. Smart Growth America technical assistance is free of charge and offers 12 “ready-to-go” technical assistance tools that facilitate economic growth, encourage government savings, protect clean air and water, and improve local quality of life. This assistance is in the form of one or two-day workshops in the topic areas detailed in the application. The assistance is being competed through this open request for applications. The deadline for applications is December 6 at 5:00 pm EST. Applications may be submitted via Smart Growth America’s website at http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/technical-assistance/free-annual-workshops-2014  or emailed (digital copy available here ) to Smart Growth America at email@example.com  by this time.
Smart Growth America and Global Green USA are soliciting applications for technical assistance, which is available under grants EPA awarded to these two organizations through the Office of Sustainable Communities’ Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities  grant program. View the application. Applications are due to Global Green by Friday December 20, 2013, 6 PM PST (3 PM EST).
Dayton Foundation Invites LOIs for New Social Innovation Award  The award will support unduplicated, systemic, and highly collaborative projects that enhance the quality of life for older adults or address trends affecting the region’s aging population…. Deadline: January 15, 2014 (Letter of Intent)
NB3F’s Native Strong: Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures is offering a Request for Proposals (RFP) for their newest grant making initiative, Capacity-Building Grants. The purpose of the grants will be to partner with Native communities to support work that addresses childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes through: 1. Community Health Assessments, or 2. Community Planning and Capacity-Building. The application deadline is December 16, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. (MST). Up to 12 grants of up to $20,000 each will be awarded for this grant cycle. The online application can be found at this link — http://www.nb3foundation.org/capacity-building-grants.html —
CEC ArtsLink Announces Grant Opportunities for Artists & Arts Managers for Independent Projects  – Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of independent projects by artists and arts managers from thirty-seven eligible countries working in the performing, design, media, literary, or visual arts…. Deadline: December 3, 2013
Wells Fargo, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Accepting Applications for Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant Program 
Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded in support of highly visible projects in regions where Wells Fargo operates that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment…. Deadline: December 16, 2013
The Department of Commerce today announced it will begin accepting applications for the International Buyer Program (IBP) for calendar year 2015 (January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015).
International Buyer Program – Applications for the 2015 IBP must be received by Friday, December 20, 2013. The Department of Commerce today announced it will begin accepting applications for the International Buyer Program (IBP) for calendar year 2015 (January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015). The announcement also sets out the objectives, procedures and application review criteria for the IBP. The purpose of the IBP is to bring international buyers together with U.S. firms in industries with high export potential at leading U.S. trade shows. The November 15, 2013 FEDERAL REGISTER notice  covers selection for IBP participation during calendar year 2015.
Youth Career Connect Grants: Building America‘s Next Generation Workforce – To apply for funding, please visit www.doleta.gov/ycc/ .