The Center for Rural and Small Business Development recently hosted its annual 1890 USDA, Rural Development Land-Grant Entrepreneurial Informational Exchange Workshop in New Orleans. Center director Gloria London, technology specialist Wilbert Harris, and business development specialist Eual Hall were participants at the workshop.
The overriding theme for the event was “Creating Sustainable Communities where all Persons Can Live and Work.” The theme is aligned with the USDA, Rural Development Mission: “to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development and critical community and technology infrastructure.”
The USDA/RD 1890 program manager Edgar Lewis opened the workshop with warm welcome and guiding instructions. The new director Judith Canales, USDA Rural Development of Rural Business-Cooperative Programs, announced support for all participating 1890 land-grant educational institutions.
Workshop participants reviewed new goals and objectives, changes, rules and guidelines about funding, as well as to answer any questions about USDA, Rural Development programs.
Information exchange included: sharing project successes and challenges; networking among USDA Rural Development employees, both national and state offices; reviewing Rural Development’s new program initiatives and policies/regulations; strategizing on training businesses on cash flow management through more seminars, workshops for cooperatives and small businesses, among others.
Many new topics were added to the existing and expected tasks, including renewable energy, the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act, youth entrepreneurship, and outreach to minority producers and cooperatives.