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Northern Border Regional Commission – U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Joint Awards Announced

Today, the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD), announces the funding of 5 projects, in addition to continuation of support for the NBRC Outdoor Economy Council, which serves all four NBRC States. Collectively, these awards amplify both agencies’ economic development impact in Northern Border communities. The NBRC has received funding in 2019 and 2020 for these awards, which has resulted in working closely with USDA RD to award funds to projects that meet the strategic objectives of both agencies.  
The total of the awards made in 2020 is $3,000,000, with a portion withheld for administration of the funds. A brief summary of each of the awarded projects is below: 

  • University of Maine (Oxford County, ME) - $286,800: The project delivers workforce training for the growing outdoor recreation and tourism sectors in western Maine. It provides technical and entrepreneurship skills, in addition to professional development opportunities.
  • Appalachian Mountain Club (Coös County, NH) - $290,056: This project will deliver 20 trail building, stewardship and recreation management skills trainings annually at AMC’s Camp Dodge Trails Center to approximately 200 individuals, equipping them to meet the workforce needs of the region’s outdoor recreation economy.
  • Northern Forest Center (Carroll, Coös, Grafton, Sullivan Counties, NH & Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, Windsor Counties, VT) - $177,354: The project will provide technical and market development assistance to support wood products businesses in the NBRC region through the COVID pandemic & recovery. It will engage medium to large manufacturers in support of improved profitability to support growth in the wood heat market.
  • Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs (Livingston County, NY) - $168,204: The project will assist Letchworth Gateway Villages in establishing a Trail Town destination program in Livingston County to position the Genesee Valley as a sustainable outdoor recreation and heritage tourism destination. The project will attract new businesses, create jobs, grow outdoor tourism, and support main street revitalization.
  • State University of New York (SUNY) – Geneseo (Livingston County, VT) - $152,629: The project will create a Rural Innovation Hub at SUNY Geneseo. The Hub will lead rural revitalization and economic development efforts through the development of Design Thinking and Problem-based Learning methodologies. These will lead to professional certificates that meet the needs of the rural workforce, thereby creating new jobs.
  • Outdoor Economy Council (ME, NH, NY, VT) - $1,600,699: The NBRC Outdoor Economy Council spans the collective efforts of Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, to support growth in each State’s outdoor recreation economy. Funding from the NBRC supports dedicated personnel and marketing efforts in this crucial economic sector.


“It is exciting to see the partnership between the NBRC and USDA RD continue to grow,” said NBRC Federal Co-Chair Harold B. Parker. He added: “The alignment between technical assistance for businesses, workforce training efforts, and the strategic importance of the outdoor recreation economy – especially during this time of continued economic uncertainty – exemplifies this collaboration and highlights its strategic importance across the region.”  
“When federal agencies work cooperatively with each other and with rural communities, good things happen,” said State Director of Rural Development in Vermont and New Hampshire, Anthony Linardos. “These NBRC investments target several priority areas of the administration, improving the quality of life in rural America by supporting the workforce, harnessing the power of technological innovation and driving economic development.” 
The funds for this program, and all NBRC programs, are available thanks to the support of the Congressional Delegations of all four NBRC states: Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. 
Depending on the availability of funds in 2021, the NBRC anticipates another round of joint NBRC-USDA project awards next year. Please refer to NBRC’s website,, for announcements about future Funding Opportunities.  
About the Northern Border Regional Commission (  
Created in 2008, the Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership whose mission is to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private sector job creation in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. In its twelve-year history, the Commission has awarded 287 grants amounting to more than $72 Million across the four states through its primary Economic & Infrastructure Development (EID) grant program and other special initiatives.  
About the USDA RD (  
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports housing, infrastructure improvements, business development, high-speed internet access, and community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care. For more information, visit If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.