(NAFB)--U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says innovative regional development can work especially well in rural areas because it helps communities share resources across boundaries such as county and state lines. By focusing on one or a few common sectors - he says regional development can produce greater economic returns. The second forum on regional economic development was held Wednesday. The White House Rural Council - chaired by Vilsack - met with officials from economic development districts, county governments and non-profit organizations to discuss ways to replicate successful regional economic development strategies. Vilsack delivered the keynote address at the forum.
Also during the forum - Vilsack announced the selection of 186 projects for USDA Rural Development loans and grants to support economic development in rural communities. The funding is being provided through the Community Facilities program, the Intermediary Relending Program, the Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program. In total - more than 27-million dollars was announced for regional and economic development projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia.