|IPC Seeks Leveraged Funding for Rural Northwest Food Processors Competitive Initiative|
|Written by Dave Klick|
|Thursday, 17 June 2010 11:17|
IPC Seeks Leveraged Funding for Rural Northwest Food Processors Competitive Initiative
A model plan to reach out, with world class services, to rural communities in the Northwest with less than 50,000 population has been developed by the Northwest Food Processors Innovation Productivity Center (IPC). Across the 250,000 square miles that comprise our three-state region, food processors operate 216 manufacturing plants in 123 communities that meet USDA’s “rural” definition. Building upon NWFPA’s six-year old regional economic development cluster inititiave, the proposed project includes coordination with existing rural resources (currently serving primarily producers); business counseling; expanded innovation / productivity collaborations (already underway in Oregon); economic development planning; educational seminars on leadership development and customized rural resources development; bundling local food processing companies into brandable Northwest clusters; and new user-friendly rural websites.
The innovative multi-state initiative was presented in a March 31, 2008 application for a $150,000 USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG). Fifteen letters of support for the rural emphasis inititive have been received, including five of the region’s U.S. Senators : OR – Wyden & Smith; WA – Cantwell; and ID – Craig and Crapo; Idaho U.S. Congressmen: Simpson and Sali; Washington Congresswoman: McMorris Rodgers; as well as NWFPA members: Boardman Foods; Del Monte Foods; Rite Stuff Foods and SVZ-USA, Inc. By the end of August, USDA will render its decision on this national competition for rural development funding.
USDA Forming Ag Resource Team in Washington. On April 10, IPC participated in an an organizational meeting by USDA in Olympia (see picture below) to bring together organizations with an agriculture focus in Washington to improve delivery systems, provide relevant educational resources and leverage funding and technical assistance. Featured speaker was USDA’s Rural Development National Field Advisor, Jeff Jobe. Jeff shared his experience from from an Iowa Value Added Agriculture Support Team that has been delivering valubale services to the agriculture industry in that state for over a decade.
Pictured from left: Gloria Edwards, Washington State Dairy Federation; Jeff Jobe, USDA Rural Development’s National Field Advisor; Tuana Jones, USDA Business & Cooperative Programs Director for the State of Washington; Dave Klick, Marketing / Workforce Advisor IPC; David Bauermeister, Executive Director, Northwest Agriculture Business Center (Mt. Vernon); and Lee Faulconer, Policy Assistant to Director, Washington State Department of Agriculture. Many more participated by speaker phone.