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USDA Announces Regional Development Assistance in Central Upper Peninsula


EAST LANSING, Aug. 12, 2015 – U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner today announced that two regions in northern Michigan have been selected to participate in the Stronger Economies Together program.

The Lakes to Land and Boardman River Watershed groups will work together to assist development in Manistee, Benzie, Grand Traverse and Kalkaska counties while the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Commission will cover Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Marquette, Menominee and Schoolcraft counties.

“Stronger Economies Together represents an integrated, long-term commitment to build regional partnerships and create economic opportunities,” said Turner.  “USDA Rural Development has worked closely with Michigan State University to find new and innovative solutions to create jobs and improve the quality of life in rural areas.”

Launched in 2010 by USDA Rural Development, the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers, the Purdue Center for Regional Development and their land-grant university partners, SET is now in place in more than 70 regions in 31 states. SET is intended to help strengthen the capacity of communities in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multi-county region, one that strategically builds on their current and emerging comparative economic advantages.

The central Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan will be joining 20 other regions across thirteen states participating in SET during 2015.

For more information on the SET initiative in Michigan, contact Valarie Handy at 231-941-0951 ext. 102.  To view information about SET nationwide, visit http://srdc.msstate.edu/set/.

USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009.  USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Under the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $6.5 billion in Michigan projects.