PUBLICATIONS

"Building a Food Hub From the Ground Up: A Facility Design Case Study of Tuscarora Organic Growers," a new report by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, provides readers a snapshot of food hub facility planning, construction, costs, capacities, etc. Read the full report to discover how a food hub can rely on community equity to launch a lean start-up, growing as demand increases and changing the scale of operations when necessary helped to build a thriving business.

2015 Asset Scorecard Identifies Policy Solutions for Financially Precarious Families
One in five households regularly rely on fringe financial services to meet their needs. Nationally, 55.6 percent of consumers have subprime credit scores, meaning they cannot qualify for credit or financing at prime rates. In its 2015 Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) describes these and other difficulties faced by many Americans and breaks down disparities by race and state. The report also outlines how a combination of state policies such as protections against predatory lending and the establishment of housing trust funds can help families achieve economic security. Read More»

CDFI Fund Releases Two Independent Reports on the CDFI Program

The CDFI fund has also recently released two independent reports that provide the first-ever comparative analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) as compared to mainstream lenders. The findings confirm that CDFIs are resilient and a reliable resource for capital in areas that need it the most.

The Economist: Two Worlds of Deindustrialization
Indianapolis and Gary are two extremes, but such contrasts are indicative of the state of American manufacturing as a whole. The U.S. makes some of the most advanced technologies in the world, but contrary to reports of an American manufacturing “renaissance,” that prosperity is not spread out. Read more...

TOOLS

What is CareerOneStop?

CareerOneStop is the flagship career, training, and job search website for the U.S. Department of Labor. The website serves job seekers, businesses, students, and career advisors with a variety of free online tools, information and resources.

www.careeronestop.org

Kauffman Foundation: How Local and State Governments Can Rev Up Business Creation

Local and state governments should reformulate their efforts to promote business startups, according to a research paper released today  (March 10) by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that first focuses on what does not work.

"Guidelines for Local and State Governments to Promote Entrepreneurship," reports that, even though many cities and states have been promoting entrepreneurship for at least two decades, the rate of new business formation is declining. New businesses comprised about 8 percent of all U.S. businesses in 2011, down from about 15 percent in the late 1970s. Further, recent groups of startups are creating fewer jobs.  Instead, state and local governments should implement strategies that focus on entrepreneurs as individuals who learn by doing and interacting with others. While books and courses may inform continuous learning, there is no substitute for advice from local business owners as entrepreneurs navigate the complicated decisions they face at each stage of their businesses' development, the paper reports. The paper recommends that state and local governments adopt several strategies to refocus their entrepreneurship support efforts, including:

  • Facilitate catalytic events that bring entrepreneurs together to learn and connect.
  • Reinvent existing public venture funds in ways that distribute multiple small investments and involve local entrepreneurs in award selection.
  • Reorganize existing incubators along a holistic format that integrates incubated firms, other local startups and experienced local entrepreneurs.
  • Identify and celebrate successful local entrepreneurs.
  • Reexamine professional and occupational licensing with an eye toward lowering barriers for startups.
  • Simplify tax codes and payment systems.
  • Rethink non-compete agreements.
  • Streamline zoning and approval processes.
  • Welcome immigrants, who have been nearly twice as likely as native-born Americans to start businesses.
  • Track the progress of whatever strategies are implemented.

While this may conflict with the goals of politicians seeking quick results, the paper emphasizes that all of the recommended strategies require a long-term outlook in order to work.

EXPORT TOOLS

Trade Statistics - http://tse.export.gov/TSE/TSEhome.aspx

A Basic Guide to Exporting - Welcome to Exporting 101

Looking for a comprehensive overview of how to export? For more than 70 years, A Basic Guide to Exporting has been the resource that businesses have turned to for answers to their questions about how to establish and grow overseas markets for their products and services. Whether your firm is new to exporting or in need of a refresher on the latest ideas and techniques, this comprehensive guide, now completely revised and updated for 2012, provides the nuts-and-bolts information you need to meet the challenges of the world economy by learning:

  • How to identify markets for your company’s products
  • How to finance your export transactions
  • The best methods of handling orders and shipments
  • Sources of free or low-cost export counseling

State Regional Trade Groups

FAS supports four State Regional Trade Groups (SRTGs), which in turn assist U.S. companies with creating and expanding export markets for value-added food and agricultural products. These non-profit organizations work closely with state Departments of Agriculture and offer services including:

  • exporter training and education;
  • analysis of export markets and opportunities;
  • trade shows and buying missions; and
  • support for international marketing campaigns and product promotion activities.

Reverse Trade Missions – Meet foreign delegates coming to the see U.S. products and technologies

 

LEARNING

WALLACE CENTER WEBINAR:  The Million Dollar Question: Break-even and viability for different food hub models, Thu, Mar 19, 2015 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM EDT

How much volume does it take for a food hub to be a viable business? Food hub managers, planning commissions, funders, support organizations, economic development commissions and investors are all asking this same question! Of course this is difficult to answer with a single number since there are diverse food hub models and management structures. And context matters: the region of the country, urban vs. rural, and others.  This webinar peers in the operations and financial books of several illustrative examples of different hypothetical hubs to tease apart those “magic numbers” – where each model reaches profitability, and true viability.  Co-presenters: Jim Barham, USDA Rural Development, DC  and Jim Matson, Matson Consulting, SC

  • Registration:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3399986084975337473
  • For more information:  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WEBINAR SERIES: USDA Rural Development (RD) is holding a various training webinars on different RD Programs. The webinars will be accessible by phone and via the Internet. Here is a list of upcoming webinars and topics:

  • Project Finance (Guaranteed Loans); Thursday, April 2; 2:00 PM Eastern Time; https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/789/7312; Dial In: Toll-Free (US & Canada): (888) 669-0676, https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/789/7312. For more information:  Contact Venus Welch-White at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Tony Crooks at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • The Rural Utilities Service is holding webinars to inform stakeholders about a new loan application system. The dates are March 19 and 27 for Telecommunications Program stakeholders, March 20 and 31 for Electric Program stakeholders, and April 1 and 2 for Water and Environmental Program stakeholders. All attendees MUST RSVP to get the link and the PIN code for the conference. Please RSVP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

FUNDING

CONFERENCE CALL: The State of Education in Rural America: A Discussion of Best Practices, Date: March 26, 2015, Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT RSVP by March 24

The U.S. Department of Education’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. The U.S. Department of Education is dedicated to ensuring that policies on federal financial aid for education are established, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds, collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research, focusing national attention on key educational issues, and prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

Leaders of the U.S. Department of Education will share their knowledge of successfully implementing activities that have expanded and created opportunities for those living in Rural America. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about best practices, discuss the challenges of developing educational programs within rural communities and establish contacts for future reference.

Join HUD’s Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED) and the U.S. Department of Education staff as we engage rural community leaders in this open forum on opportunities available through ED. Speakers will include:

  • Valerie G. Piper, Deputy      Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Community Planning and      Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development;
  • Jackie L. Williams,      Ph.D., Moderator, Director, Office of Rural Housing and Economic       Development, Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of      Housing and Urban Development;
  • Lucy Johnson, Deputy      Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach, Office of Communications and      Outreach, U.S. Department of Education;
  • Dennis Bega, Director of      Regional Offices, Office of Communications and Outreach, U.S. Department      of Education;
  • Eric Schulz, Acting Team      Leader of Rural Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education,      U.S. Department of Education;
  • Lisa Ramirez, Acting      Director of School Support in Rural Programs, Office of Elementary and      Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education.

Topics to be discussed

  • Funding opportunities at      the U.S. Department of Education
  • Performance Outcomes
  • Public and Private      sources of funding to carry out projects
  • Best practices and      lessons-learned

Format of the call

Call-in instructions and additional materials will be emailed to participants on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.  The 60 minute call will include presentations and a Q&A session.

Please RSVP by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than close of business on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Please include your name and organization.

If you have any questions, please call 1-877-RURAL-26 (1-877-787-2526).

 

 

Aspen Institute Social Innovation Program Invites Applications for Hearst Fellowship for Minority Students - DEADLINE: March 31, 2015

The fellowship, which includes a $2,000 stipend, is designed to introduce undergraduate and graduate students of color to issues and challenges affecting the social sector....

 

Mountaineers Foundation Seeks Proposals for Mountain Conservation Projects - DEADLINE: May 1 and October 1, 2015

Grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded in support of projects that promote the study of the mountains, forests, and streams of the Pacific Northwest and contribute to preserving the region's natural beauty and ecological integrity....

ACF/ORR Announces Funding Opportunity for Projects to Establish and Maintain Individual Development Accounts for Low-Income Refugees – DEADLINE:  May 4, 2015

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) invites eligible entities to submit competitive grant applications for projects to establish and manage Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) for low-income refugee participants.  Eligible refugee participants who enroll in these projects will open and contribute systematically to IDAs for specified Savings Goals, including home ownership, business capitalization, vehicles for educational or work purposes, professional certification, and education (limited to postsecondary education, college entrance exam fees, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and GED preparation and test fees).  Grantee organizations may use ORR funds to provide matches for the savings in the IDAs of up to $2,000 per individual refugee and $4,000 per refugee household.  Applications will be screened and evaluated as indicated in the published funding opportunity announcement.  Selection of awards will be contingent on the outcome of the competition and the availability of funds.

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/files/HHS-2015-ACF-ORR-ZI-0958_0.pdf