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Funding To Rural Native American Communities

US - The USDA has selected 27 projects to receive grants to help fund rural businesses, start new businesses, save and create jobs, and train workers in Native American communities in 12 states.

"USDA is working to ensure that members of Tribes have the tools they need to create a livelihood, expand economic opportunity and improve their quality of life," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

"The grants announced today represent USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen Tribes and support sustainable business opportunities."

For example, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation, in Polk, Oregon, is being selected to receive a $150,000 grant to provide technical assistance to tribal businesses involved in fishing, transport and processing of Indian-caught salmon. The funding is expected to help the Salmon People Value-Added Salmon Market Project create or save an estimated 106 jobs.

The Makah Tribal Council in Neah Bay, Washington, received a $150,000 grant to implement a geoduck clam aquaculture small business training programme through the Makah Fisheries Management Department.

Aquaculture is vital to the Tribe's economic future and this training programme will educate new entrepreneurs on all aspects of this industry and help bring economic development opportunity to tribal members.

This project is expected to create 21 jobs on the Makah Indian Reservation. A separate grant of almost $100,000 was awarded to the Alaska Rural Community Assistance Corporation, which is working with the Organized Village of Kake, the Alaska Shellfish Growers Association and the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery to establish a geoduck nursery in Southeast Alaska.

The $3.4 million in grants announced today is administered through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) programme. This programme provides grants for rural projects that finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment-related adult education programmes. More information about this programme can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_rbeg.html.

USDA's Rural Business Enterprise Grant programme has a long record of bringing economic opportunity to rural businesses and communities. One recent successful undertaking involved a project that assisted with infrastructure costs associated with the construction of a 150-seat restaurant adjacent to the tribally owned Moenkopi Legacy Inn in the Upper Village of Moenkopi on the Hopi Reservation in Tuba City, Arizona. The project is expected to create 65 jobs when it is finished.

Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement, and is not provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The following is a complete list of organizations that have been selected to receive RBEG grants.

the Fish Site Editor

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