ASU Community Partnerships completes USDA project
Adams State University Community Partnerships successfully completed a project funded by the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach, resulting in submission of ten proposals from the San Luis Valley for funding to support rural development. "We were one of ten universities chosen for the project, and I was told we were the only one that met the goal of facilitating ten eligible proposals. Nine of those were awarded funding," said Mary Hoffman, executive director of ASU Community Partnerships.
The USDA designated the San Luis Valley a "Strikeforce" area for the project, due to its high poverty rate. ASU Community Partnerships coordinated training opportunities to learn about USDA programs and grant writing requirements. In addition, Community Partnerships worked with people to identify potential projects and provided a stipend and assistance to writers who successfully submitted eligible USDA proposals. The effort entailed outreach to farmers, ranchers, disadvantaged small businesses, economic development groups, and local government. Eligible projects included those related to value-added agriculture, rural business development, and REAP (Rural Energy for America.)
"We raised our community's capacity to submit more proposals, increased the number of successful grant writers, and brought agriculture producers together with potential grant writers," Hoffman said, noting the project drew upon her office's connections to the San Luis Valley agricultural and business community. ASU Community Partnerships will continue to work with workshop participants.
Some of the proposals funded included support for value-added agriculture, sustainable economic development, and assistance for beginning farmers.
For more information about the Strikeforce project and USDA programs, please call ASU Community Partnerships, 719-587-7230.
By Julie Waechter