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ARC and USDA Announce Support for Second Grant Competition to Promote Agricultural Development

September 2006

WASHINGTON, September 29, 2006—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced their support for a grant competition program this week to promote value-added agricultural development in five Appalachian states.

Supporting the Sustainable Community Grants (SCG) competition sponsored by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development is part of ARC's overall effort to promote asset-based economic development in the Appalachian Region, which also includes boosting export and trade of Appalachia's wood products; more effectively using the Region's renewable and non-renewable energy resources through ARC's energy blueprint; and creating gateway communities.

Nonprofit organizations, local governments, farm cooperatives, educational institutions, and local and regional development organizations are all eligible to apply for the grants.

Communities throughout the Region have used funding from previous SCG grants for such activities as food-safety training for Kentucky farmers; business planning to help Georgia farmers start a marketing cooperative; and entrepreneurship training for farmers in Alabama.

ARC and USDA are providing awards totaling $125,000 for this grant competition. ARC and USDA have already provided $200,000 in awards for a similar grant competition in the eight-state southern portion of the Appalachian Region.

"ARC is pleased to partner in this endeavor with USDA to add value to the Region's agricultural assets and increase job opportunities," stated ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne B. Pope. "USDA has a proven record of success in advancing agricultural development, and, working together, we can do more to address the challenges facing the Region in the new global economy."

Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, ARC's 2006 states' co-chair, noted that "Appalachia is a region rich in natural resources and agricultural opportunities. This grant competition will serve as encouragement to utilize those assets more creatively. Both the producers and consumers of agricultural products will benefit from the results."

Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are eligible to compete in the grant competition. The SCG call for proposals and information on how to apply are available at Proposals must be submitted by November 28, 2006. Maximum awards are $25,000. Awards will be announced in spring 2007.

The Appalachian states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia are eligible to participate in a similar grant competition announced earlier this summer. This Sustainable Community Innovation call for proposals is available at The application deadline for this program is also November 28, 2006. Maximum awards are $50,000. Awards will be announced in early 2007.

Information about ARC's asset-based development initiative is available on the ARC Web site.