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Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 2/15/2022


Resources for Rural Entrepreneurs
U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA Rural Development NEW guide to support rural entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, create good-paying jobs and strengthen America’s economy.

USDA Launches Major Initiative for Climate Smart Agriculture
USDA Radio News

Radio clip highlights this new programUSDA NRCS- Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities–Building Markets and Investing in America’s Climate-Smart Farmers, Ranchers & Forest Owners to Strengthen U.S. Rural and Agricultural Communities. Application Deadlines: 4/8/2022 and 5/27/2022.

USDA Expands Access to Four Key Loan Programs
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Rural Development is expanding access to four loan guarantee programs that provide funding to help rural communities create jobs and improve local infrastructure.

Tribal Treaty Database
Various Organizations
USDA in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Oklahoma State University and the USDA Hall of Tribal Nations offer this informational database.

USDA Emergency Rural Health Care Grant - Comments Requested
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Rural Development seeks comments on the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant, which provides emergency funding to help rural hospitals and local communities increase access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services (including telehealth) and other support for the long-term sustainability. Comment Deadline: 3/4/22.

Charging Forward: A Toolkit for Planning and Funding Rural Electric Mobility Infrastructure U.S. Department of Transportation
Guidance to assist rural community members, towns, businesses, planning agencies and others identify key project partners and funding/financing to make their Electronic Vehicle project a reality.

Investing in Rural Recovery: Findings from a Rapid Assessment of Stakeholder Priorities for Rural Development
Regional Rural Development Centers
Findings from a survey on key priorities and critical investments for rural communities regarding recovery and growth. Indicators of Broadband Need Digital Map The National Telecommunications & Information Administration developed a mapping tool with multiple data sources to help users better understand the digital divide and connection between poverty and the lack of broadband.

Events and Learning Opportunities

USDA Rural Development Events:

2/16: National Entrepreneurship Week discussion on how USDA Rural Development assists small businesses and entrepreneurs

2/24-2/25: Agricultural Outlook Forum -- Sign up now!

Recorded: USDA Presents: Access to Capital in Rural America for Non-Regulated Lenders and the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative.

Find past workshop recordings at the USDA Rural Development YouTube Channel 

Other Learning Opportunities:

2/17: SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership-Virtual Women’s Business Center Grant Program Applicant Workshop

2/23: BroadbandUSA–NTIA’s Deep Dive into the Digital Equity Act Programs & Parameters under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

2/24: ARC’s INSPIRE Pre-Application Workshop for the Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystems Program. Letter of Intent Deadline: 3/3/2022

3/1-3/24: Project for Public Spaces: How to Create Successful Markets

4/4-4/7: Appalachian Regional Commission Outdoor Economy Conference

5/2-5/5: 2022 National Outdoor Recreation Conference

Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities, 1/25/2022

Publications and Resources

The 90-Day Trucking Apprenticeship Challenge
This challenge kicks off on Dec.16 and seeks to promote the apprenticeship model as a solution to get more well-trained drivers on the road. The challenge asks employers who are ready to step up to commit to accelerating the development of new apprenticeship programs and help expand existing ones through new employer and labor partnerships to support recruitment, retention and return on investment in the trucking industry. View the fact sheet

MBDA Request for Comments: Rural Business Center Program
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included statutory authority within the Minority Business Development Act (the Act) for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to establish a Rural Business Center Program. MBDA is seeking public comment on various issues related to rural areas and rural minority business enterprises to inform the agency and provide fundamental information regarding this sector of the economy. Federal Register NoticeComments accepted on or before January 25, 2022

Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience
USDA released a framework for how their climate hubs will prepare American farmers, ranchers and land managers for the current and anticipated impacts of climate change.

FEMA Resources for Climate Change
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a publication intended to assist state, local, tribal and territorial partners in navigating their resources regarding climate change.

Join the First-Ever 50001 Ready Wastewater Cohort
Wastewater treatment facilities are invited this new Wastewater Cohort as part of DOE 50001 Ready Program to learn how to implement a robust energy management system based on the global ISO 50001 energy management system standard.

DOE Expands their Weatherization Assistance Program
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides help to state, local and tribal governments to enhance their residential Weatherization Assistance Program to lower energy costs for consumers.

Events and Learning Opportunities

USDA Rural Development Events:

Jan. 27: USDA Seeks Input from Tribal Leaders: Creating a Tribal Action Plan for Fairer Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Processing

Feb. 8-10: USDA RD Broadband ReConnect Information and Application Process Workshop

Feb. 24-25: Agricultural Outlook Forum

Recorded: USDA RD-Biofuel Producer Program

Recorded: USDA Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program Lender Webinar

Recorded: Rural Matters: Rural Funding (Part IV of Thomas USAF), with Dr. Karama Neal, Jacki Ponti-Lazaruk, and Thomas Kimsey

Find past workshop recordings at the USDA Rural Development YouTube Channel.

Other Learning Opportunities:

Recorded: CDFA’s Preserving Local Food Systems Series

Recorded: CDFA’s Infrastructure Finance Series

Recorded: NTIA Broadband Grant Program Public Listening Sessions

Feb. 1: National Association of Counties (NACo) and KPMG Webinar: “Broadband Program Implementation-Key Considerations”

April 4-7: Appalachian Regional Commission Outdoor Economy Conference

May 2-5: 2022 National Outdoor Recreation Conference

Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 12/15/2021

Publications and Resources

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
On Nov. 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an infrastructure deal providing a vital investment into our nation’s infrastructure and clean energy landscape.

Charting a Course for an Equity-Centered Data System
This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report encourages all parties to combine efforts to transform public health data systems to reimagine how data is collected, shared, and used to better identify the investments needed to improve health equity.

USDA Support for Food Banks and Emergency Food Systems
USDA Food and Nutrition Service piece outlines USDAs expected investment, of approximately $2 billion, to support the nation’s emergency food system in fiscal year 2022.  

The USDA Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative
USDA is partnering with tribal-serving organizations on seven projects to reimagine federal food and agriculture programs from an Indigenous perspective and inform future USDA programs and policies.

Rural Development and Rural Health Practices: Trends and Opportunities for Alignment
This Aspen Institute piece describes trends and catalysts between rural economic community development and rural public health care and also notes how connections can propel rural prosperity. 

Events and Learning Opportunities

USDA Rural Development Events:

12/17:USDA Rural Development’s NEW Biofuel Producer Program Informational Webinar 

12/20: Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program Lender Webinar

2/24 - 2/25: Agricultural Outlook Forum 

Find past workshop recordings at the USDA Rural Development YouTube Channel.

Other Learning Opportunities:

Recorded: Impact of COVID-19-Organizations Serving Low- to Moderate-Income Communities

Various Dates: NTIA Broadband Grant Program Public Listening Sessions                        

1/18: Reaching Your Agritourism Target Market: Booking Sites for Farm Stays/Experiences

Educational Opportunities, November 24, 2021

Publications and Resources

Native Learning Center's Hoporenkv Podcast
Learn more about USDA Rural Development's ReConnect Program on the latest episode.

Investing in Rural Prosperity
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' extensive study examining policy, governance and economic development in rural and tribal communities with strategies for local capacity building in rural America.

Tourism Led Development: A Likely Entrepreneurial Development Opportunity Strategy Guide
e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems offers this guide to provide strategies for growing a more resilient and diverse economy around rural tourism.

Resilient Strategies Guide
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with the support of community partners, offers this Guide and many other Resources, including a listing of upcoming events, through the Creating Resilient Water Utilities initiative which provides technical assistance to drinking water, waste water and storm water utilities around the country.

Measuring the Economic and Human Impact of Nonprofit Organizations in Rural America 
National Rural Housing Coalition impact report highlights key federal programs that support affordable housing and community infrastructure, including water and wastewater disposal.

Land-Based Wind, Offshore Wind and Distributed Wind Reports
Three market reports released by the U.S. Department of Energy detail trends in wind development, technology, cost and performance through the end of 2020, reveal that Wind energy grew at a record pace representing the largest source of new additions to the U.S. electric-generating capacity.

Events and Learning Opportunities

USDA Rural Development Events:

11/30 & 12/1: USDA RD Water & Wastewater Environmental Programs Tribal Consultation

Find past workshop recordings at the USDA Rural Development YouTube Channel.

Other Learning Opportunities:

11/30: Building Development Muscle in Rural and Native Nation Communities 

12/2: Connecting Communities: Impact of COVID-19 on Organizations Serving Low to Moderate Income Communities

11/20, 12/3: 2021 Housing Assistance Council's Biennial National Rural Housing Conference

12/6-12/8: Native American Indian Housing Council 2021 Legal Symposium

12/7-12/9: Intertribal Agricultural Council (IAC) Annual Conference



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