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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.

Resources for rural communities, August 20, 2013

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.


Check out our USDA Rural Development booth at the following Events in August!

Dakotafest:  August 20-22nd

SD State Fair:  Value Added Ag. Day:  Thursday August 29th 

South Dakota Department of Agriculture

South Dakota Value Added Finance Authority


A public hearing will be held at theMatthewTrainingCenter,FossBuilding,523 East Capitol Ave, Pierre, SD on September 26, 2013 at 8:00 a.m., to consider the adoption of proposed rules numbered


The effect of the proposed rules will be to make changes to the value added sub fund rules upon moving the fund from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture; through the South Dakota Value Added Finance Authority.

The reason for adopting the proposed rule is to enhance the program to fill the gaps in financing new project development for agricultural purposes.

Persons interested in presenting data, opinions, and arguments for or against the proposed rules may do so by appearing in person at the hearing or by sending written materials to the SD Department of Agriculture, 523 East Capitol, Foss Building, Pierre, South Dakota 57501.  All written comments received before the date and time of the public hearing will be considered by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.

After the hearing, the SD Department of Agriculture will consider all written and oral comments it receives on the proposed rules.  The Secretary may modify or amend a proposed rule at that time to include or exclude matters that are described in this notice.

Notice is further given to individuals with disabilities that this hearing is being held in a physically accessible place.  Please notify the SD Department of Agriculture at least 48 hours before the public hearing if you have special needs for which special arrangements must be made.  The telephone number for making special arrangements is (605) 773-5436.

Copies of the proposed rules may be obtained without charge from the

South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Foss Building

523 East Capitol

Pierre, SD 57501



Hunger and Housing in Rural America: Intersecting Challenges and SolutionsRural Voices summer publication.  If I could highlight one thing for you to read out of all of this information, this would be it.  Very good information regarding hunger/food insecurity, food justice and housing. HUNGER AND HOUSING EXAMINED IN RURAL VOICES. Stories in the summer issue of HAC’s quarterly magazine describe initiatives in a number of rural places. A map shows food insecurity by county. One print subscription per organization is free from Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600

 Inflation-adjusted supermarket prices are up for some foods, and down for others – Due to inflation—the general fall in the purchasing power of money over time—shelf prices of most foods in the supermarket tend to rise a bit each year. However, by holding the value of the U.S. dollar constant at a particular point in time, it is possible to see how U.S. grocery store food prices have changed over time in real, inflation-adjusted terms. In real terms, bananas, tomatoes, eggs, and chicken are all cheaper today than they were in 1984. Bread, however, has grown more expensive. Real food prices are largely determined by supply-and-demand conditions. Increases in U.S. production, imports, or both have pushed down real prices of bananas and tomatoes, and production efficiencies have helped lower real prices for chicken and eggs. The greater variability of real prices of tomatoes and eggs reflects, in part, supplies that shift more dramatically from year to year as compared to bread, bananas, and chicken. Alternatively, real prices of major field crops, including wheat, have been increasing since 2002, resulting in higher real bread prices beginning around that time. More information on food price changes and forecasts can be found in ERS’s Food Price Outlook data product, updated July 24, 2013.

 While Telehealth Workforce Expands, Barriers Slow Availability by Candi Helseth.  Telehealth offers many benefits in rural and remote areas, but physician licensing, reimbursement and technology remain challenges.

Venture Capital Investment Increases, Internet Companies Benefit

PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association have put out their quarterly survey on venture capital investment activity.  In the second quarter of 2013, venture investment totaled $6.7 billion over 913 deals.  Compared to the first quarter of 2013, the amount of venture capital investment increased 12 percent and the number of deals increased 2 percent. Read more…

New Firm Creation by State, 2011 – New business creation in the U.S. increased in 2011 for the first time since the 2007-09 economic crisis, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Census data indicates that 8.2 percent of all businesses were less than one year old in 2011, the first increase since 2006 and the largest increase in a decade. SSTI has prepared a table of new firm creation by state in 2011 that sheds some additional light on the geographic dispersion of the recovery. The table also includes information on total number of firms by state, total firms per 1,000 residents, share of total firms launched in the past year and new firms per 1,000 residents. Download the table…

This Is What It Looks Like When A School Becomes A Community HubUniversity campuses are often community hubs; locals use their libraries, arts centers, gyms, and sometimes even sit in on lectures. The same can’t be said for secondary schools, which sometimes have valuable amenities of their own but don’t share them as much with the surrounding area. In the 10,000-person Bay Area city of Emeryville, California, architecture and design firm MKThink  is teaming up with Concordia and DSK to create what the developers call “a full service community, where the school district and city work cooperatively to improve access to learning and opportunities to all members of the community through a highly coordinated City/School partnership.” In short: a community center that doubles as a secondary school. The Emeryville Center of Community Life, a 150,000 square foot, $80 million project that breaks ground this summer, will be a K-12 school harboring facilities that are designed to be used constantly, and not just by students.

 In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters A study finds the odds of rising to another income level are notably low in certain cities, like Atlanta and Charlotte, and much higher in New York and Boston. The study — based on millions of anonymous earnings records and being released this week by a team of top academic economists — is the first with enough data to compare upward mobility across metropolitan areas. These comparisons provide some of the most powerful evidence so far about the factors that seem to drive people’s chances of rising beyond the station of their birth, including education, family structure and the economic layout of metropolitan areas. “Where you grow up matters,” said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and one of the study’s authors. “There is tremendous variation across the U.S. in the extent to which kids can rise out of poverty.”  Note:  Link includes a county map

 The Democracy Collaborative, along with the Responsible Endowments Coalition, hosted a webinar on July 19 to announce our jointly published report Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment. The Chronicle for Higher Education released a blog review of the report, highlighting how everyone benefits when students, community organizations, and universities work together to invest in local businesses and sustainable economic development.

 Food tours look at economic engine of local industry (PA)

Measuring crop farm consolidation as the nature of U.S. agriculture changes – The complexity of U.S. crop farm structure makes the nationwide shift of acreage to larger farms hard to discern with common metrics. In recent years, the number of mid-size crop farms has declined sharply, while farm numbers at the extremes (large and small) have grown. As a result the size of the average farm (in acres) has changed little, but large farms have gotten considerably larger. Simple means and medians focus on the average farm, but relatively few cropland acres are on average-size farms. A chart is found in the ERS report, Farm Size and the Organization of U.S. Crop Farming, ERR-152, August 2013.

HUD Seeks Input on Draft Strategic Plan 2014-2018

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is currently seeking input on its draft Strategic Plan 2014-2018, and has established an interactive online forum on HUD Ideas in Action through which both HUD employees and the public may submit their feedback on the draft plan framework. The Strategic Plan will guide the organization as it will help determine the focus of the Department’s work over the next four years.  Feedback is due on August 16 for the initial draft of the Plan. A second round of feedback will be solicited in the fall for the final draft of the Plan. Comments for the final Plan will be accepted until December 5.

HUD seeks input on the following topics:

  • Do you think the Strategic Plan accurately reflects what HUD needs to accomplish in the upcoming years?
  • What strategies should HUD consider in order to reach each goal?
  • What specific performance goals would you like to see HUD strive towards?

Additional Links:



Listening Party Discussion Guide – Planning to host a party? Download our discussion guide for some advice on structuring a conversation, sample discussion questions, and resources to help you along the way.


Program Evaluation:  Date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at Noon Mountain Time. Program Evaluation is essential for successful programming and grant acquisition. Evaluations allow program organizers to demonstrate clear results and assess both short- and long-term outcomes of the program. This webinar explores key aspects of program evaluation, suggests strategies for developing and strengthening evaluation efforts, and explores issues surrounding evaluation within community based or culturally based programs. Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Cobell Buy-Back, Estate Planning, CRP & Carbon Market Information Session:  Don’t miss this opportunity to attend a free information session on trust land and asset management. Sessions are designed especially to address the needs of Native American landowners, farmers and ranchers in North   Dakota and South Dakota.
South Dakota
August 26th, 2013:  5 pm – 9 pm.  Water Resources Bldg, BIA Road 903, Rosebud, SD 57570 /Info: Ike Schmidt 651-766-8999
August 27th, 2013:  5 pm – 9 pm.  Kyle CAP Office, Kyle, SD 57752  Info: Denise Mesteth 701-766-1113 
North   Dakota
August 28th, 2013:  5 pm – 9 pm.  4 Bears Casino, 202 Frontage Rd, New Town, ND 58763 Info: Charlie Thayer 612-390-6408 

REGISTER NOW for Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics, an interactive online course offering community development skills and tools you can use:   DATES:  Thursday afternoons, 2:00-3:30 (eastern), October 3-November 14, 2013 (7 sessions).   Would you like to understand how communities work? Are you curious about why good ideas sometimes fall flat? Do you watch groups struggle to make decisions without adequate data? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions we encourage you to join us for Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics, a unique online course presented jointly by eXtension (Enhancing Rural Capacity and Entrepreneurs and Their Communities), USDA’s Regional Rural Development Centers, Cornell University, the University of Vermont, and a team of nationally recognized Community Development professionals. Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics, level one of the Foundations of Practice in Community Development program, provides an introduction to community development core competencies, focusing on the ability to understand community of place, the nature of public issues, the dynamics and interdependencies of the various segments of the community, and the basics of community development work. Open to all individuals working in a community context this course is offered as an entry level course in community development. No prior knowledge or experience is required; beginning and veteran community development professionals have found value in this course.  The seven-week series will beginOctober 3, 2013 and concludeNovember 14, 2013

Sustainable Communities HotReport: How well is your community performing on transportation, housing, economic development, income, and equity? Wednesday, August 21, 1:00 – 2:00 Eastern. The Sustainable Communities HotReport is a new web-based tool that gives community leaders and residents a quick and easy way to determine how well their community is performing on a variety of sustainability indicators, including transportation, housing, economic development, income, and equity. Produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the tool can help communities measure their own performance and compare themselves to communities of a similar type. Speakers from EPA, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Mid-America Regional Council will walk through the tool and help participants understand how it can help communities achieve their sustainability goals. Click here for details on how to attend.

· Smart Growth and Economic Success. September 18, 3:00 – 4:00 Eastern. This webinar will explore how smart growth strategies at the regional, city, and neighborhood level can maximize economic advantages while creating attractive, healthy communities that help protect the environment. This webinar will feature EPA’s report,  Smart Growth and Economic Success: Benefits for Real Estate Developers, Investors, Businesses, and Local Government. Speakers from Lehigh Valley, PA, Champaign, IL, and Phoenix, AZ will then discuss how smart growth is helping their communities prosper. Click here for details on how to attend.

· Infrastructure Financing for Transit-Oriented Development. September 24, 3:00 – 4:00 Eastern. NEW. Transit-oriented development (TOD) offers a mix of housing, employment, shopping, and transportation choices that can help reduce air pollution and development on open lands and improve water quality and access to jobs. Yet the infrastructure required to create TOD is expensive and funding for infrastructure for new TOD can be difficult to obtain. This webinar will cover some of the lessons learned from a year-long Smart Growth Implementation Assistance project on financing TOD infrastructure. Speakers from the Utah Transit Authority and the NoMa Business Improvement District in Washington, DC will then discuss TOD in their communities. Click here for details on how to attend.

RECORDED WEBINAR:  STATS America Tool Webinar Now Available for Download
On July 25, the NADO Research Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)  hosted a webinar highlighting STATS America, one of several data tools available at no-cost to economic development practitioners and others across the nation.  STATS America is a service of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. They have obtained thousands of data items from hundreds of data sets through a variety of federal and state sources, along with some commercial and private source data.  While STATS America adds value to this data through easy access and functionality, the tool acknowledges the direct agency source of the data on every table, profile, or map.  Click here to download the webinar.

RECORDED WEBINARFinancial Resiliency in the Face of Disasters Webinar Now Available for Download
On July 19, NADO and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI)  hosted a webinar that focused on how regions and communities can prepare their public sectors to be more financially resilient to future disasters.  Regions across the United   States are faced with preparing for and responding to an increasing number of natural, man-made, and technological disasters.  Click here to watch a recording of the webinar and download the presentation slides.



U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking applications for grants that will be awarded to organizations to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development. USDA is making $5.6 million available through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI), a program that generates economic activity in rural areas.  The deadline for submitting RCDI applications is November 12, 2013.  For more information, see the August 14, 2013 Federal Register at

USDA announced in the Federal Register the availability of funds totaling approximately $12.2 million for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) for fiscal year 2013. RMAP is a USDA rural development program created by the 2008 Farm Bill that provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs), which then provide technical services and distribute microloans to rural microentrepreneurs to support their development and ongoing success. For this round, MDOs may borrow $50,000 at minimum and $500,000 at maximum through the program.  Technical assistance-only grants are capped at $30,000 per grantee for technical assistance-only grants. USDA expects to make $1.2 million available to MDOs for technical assistance and $10.7 million for microloans.  In addition, $300,000 is available for technical assistance-only grants. The deadline for submitting an application isSeptember 13, 2013.   Application materials for loans must be received by the deadline in the USDA Rural Development State Offices.

Enter Our Successful Communities Contest – Here’s your shot at success! Host a listening party for Ed’s call, and if your group decides on an action to get started, you can enter to win $500 to make it happen.

“Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity” program at the National Science Foundation.  Community colleges are eligible to submit proposals.  Click here for the full announcement.  “Smart healthcare,” “smart infrastructure,” and “precision agriculture” are enumerated by NSF as examples of technology applied to service systems.  Letters of Intent are due by November 18, 2013. Full Proposal deadline is January 27, 2014

The Hearst Foundations support well-established nonprofit organizations that address significant issues within their major areas of interests – culture, education, health and social service – and that primarily serve large demographic and/or geographic constituencies

Sodexo Foundation Announces Open Application Period for Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholarships
Up to five students working to end hunger in their communities will be honored with $5,000 scholarships as well as grants of $5,000 for the hunger charity of their choice…. Deadline: December 5, 2013

Institute of Museum and Library Services Accepting Applications for Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program
Grants of up to $500,000 will be awarded to libraries and other organizations and associations working to address the education and training needs of the professionals who help build, maintain, and provide public access to information systems and sources…. Deadline: September 16, 2013

American Hiking Society Offers Support to Maintain and Protect Hiking Trails
Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to local organizations working to repair and protectAmerica’s hiking trails…. Deadline: December 17, 2013

Lexus and Scholastic Launch Seventh Annual Environmental Contest for Middle and High School Students
The program will award a total of $500,000 in grants and scholarships to inspire and empower middle and high school students in the United States to learn about the environment and take action to improve it…. Deadline: October 7 and November 11, 2013, and January 17, 2014

Kids in Need Foundation Invites Applications for 2013 Teacher Grants Program
Grants of up to $500 will be awarded to K-12 educators for projects that strengthen creativity, critical thinking skills, and/or core knowledge by engaging students in the learning process…. Deadline: September 30, 2013

Applications Invited for Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Awards – Fifty teachers of preschool-age children will be selected to receive grants of $1,000 in recognition of their dedication to providing high-quality child care….
Deadline: December 6, 2013


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