Yampa White River region selected for USDA rural development program

Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco counties applied for SET grant together

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The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office announced Monday three counties in northwest Colorado were chosen to participate in a rural economic development program in 2013.

The program, known as Stronger Economies Together, helps regional teams develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities, according to a USDA RD news release.

The Yampa White River Region, which includes Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties, was the only rural multi-county region in Colorado selected to participate in the 2013 program.

Betsy Nauman-Cook, executive director of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, said the EDP partnered with the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and the Steamboat Springs Chamber and Resort Association to apply for the program.

USDA RD made the announcement Thursday in conjunction with Southern Rural Development Center, Colorado State University Extension, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and El Pomar.

USDA RD cited a demonstrated commitment to collaboration by the Yampa White River Region’s government, small business, education, healthcare and economic development representatives as a vital component for its successful application.

“These stakeholders will enhance their region’s potential to be a stronger and more stable rural economy by combining and sharing resources, knowledge and experience,” the release states.

SET facilitates a thoughtful and analytical consideration of the economic opportunities in its regions through intensive strategic planning, database tools to identify emerging growth sectors, technical assistance and educational support for rural development teams, and other education or information sharing opportunities with SET participants around the country.

The USDA, through its rural development mission, has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees, the release states.

Programs are designed to improve economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers, and to improve the quality of life in rural America.

For more information about rural development programs in Colorado, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/co.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com

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