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USDA Announces Grants to Create Jobs and Grow Economic Opportunity

By on October 27, 2016

SAN JUAN – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA is awarding $7.6 million in grants to support projects that will grow rural opportunity through job training and economic development. The grants will support communities in 24 states and Puerto Rico, with several projects spanning communities in multiple states.

“These awards will help bolster local and regional food systems, tap into the tourism potential that proximity to America’s beautiful natural resources provides, and help individuals learn new job skills. All these effort are part of USDA’s strategy for a strong rural economy and will help to sustain the recovery that we have begun to see in our smallest towns,” Vilsack said in a release Thursday.

USDA_logoThe funding is being awarded through the Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants (SDGG) and Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Programs.

José Otero-García, USDA Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico, indicated that RCAP Solutions Inc. is receiving a $244,831 RCDI grant to help 14 recipient communities in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico to implement Geographic Information Systems mapping. In Puerto Rico, Barros ward in the municipality of Orocovis and Capitanejo ward of in the municipality of Juana Díaz respectively will receive this assistance.

The “Cooperativa de Agricultores del Suroeste” is receiving a $130,775 SDGG grant to provide technical assistance to a group of socially disadvantaged individual farmers and farmer cooperatives within the municipalities of Lajas and Las Marías.

The SDGG program provides technical assistance to cooperatives and other organizations that help socially disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Examples of technical assistance include leadership training, conducting feasibility studies, and developing business and strategic plans.

For additional information about the SDGG program, contact Danna Quiles, Business & Cooperative Program director at the Puerto Rico State Office at (787) 766-5355, 766-5363, 766-5379 or 766-5412. For the RCDI program, contact Nereida Rodríguez at (787) 766-5144 or visit www.rd.usda.gov/pr .

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