USDA Grant Program Aims to Grow New Mexico's Rural Communities
New Mexico’s Department of Agriculture's Rural Development office has launched a new grant program that offers opportunities for economic growth for rural New Mexicans. The grant application process opened earlier this week.
Rural communities are now eligible for a new grant program, - Rural Innovation Stronger Economy or RISE - which sets out to strengthen these communities by focusing on regional food production by allowing for fairer markets and creating higher wage jobs.
Eric Vigil, acting State Director for the USDA, said that with this grant, he hopes that these regions can expand to new manufacturing facilities. But, as of now, jobs in rural New Mexico are few and far between.
"You know our youth are leaving the rural areas and coming to Albuquerque," Vigil said. "Because you start creating urban sprawl and our rural New Mexico is going to be a dying breed."
Vigil said the grant can be used for new training opportunities, expanding infrastructure and equipment. RISE competitively awards grants up to $2 million.
The USDA will also be hosting a webinar on June 22nd to help potential applicants.