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UEDA 2015 Annual Summit - 9/29 - Morning Keynote Addresses

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UA’s Future: Creating Success for Our People and Our State
Dr. James R. Johnsen, President, University of Alaska
Keynote Address
The best way to think of USDA Rural Development (RD) is as a bank. In fact, with a loan portfolio of over $200 billion, we would be the 8th largest bank in the U.S. But, as opposed to a commercial bank, we do not have a profit motive. Our mission is to promote the economic well-being and quality of life in rural communities. We use our lending authority (and some grants) to deliver critical infrastructure such as electricity; telecommunications; water, sewer and solid waste facilities; housing; community facilities such as hospitals and police equipment; and business development to help rural communities thrive economically. Under this administration, RD has been focused on community economic development (CED) in which our field staff works in closer proximity with organizations pursuing specific development strategies for a community or region. We do not claim to be experts in CED, but seek to partner with development organizations, universities, and others working with community members to promote realistic and sustainable development objectives. We want to be sure the federal dollars we administer have the greatest positive impact on rural America.
Jim Nordlund, Alaska Director, USDA Rural Development

Published in: Economy & Finance
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UEDA 2015 Annual Summit - 9/29 - Morning Keynote Addresses

  1. 1. Mike Dozier President, University Economic Development Association
  2. 2. Dr. James Johnsen President, University of Alaska
  3. 3. Jim Nordlund Alaska State Director, USDA Rural Development
  4. 4. Presentation to the University Economic Development Association 2015 Annual Summit
  5. 5.  Who we are  What we are doing differently  A shared purpose Jim Nordlund Alaska State Director USDA Rural Development
  6. 6.  Our Organization  Our History  Our Programs
  7. 7.  One of seven mission areas in USDA  Led by the Under Secretary for Rural Development  Mission: To increase economic opportunity and improve the quality life for all rural Americans  RUS, RHS, RBS  Politically appointed State Directors
  8. 8.  President Lincoln created the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862 – “the people’s department”  Genesis of RD was with the REA, created by President Roosevelt as part of the New Deal in 1935  Water programs added in 1937  Restructured into the Farmers Home Administration in 1946  Housing and Telephone programs added in 1949  Community Facilities and Business Programs added in 1972  FmHA split into RD and FSA in 1994
  9. 9.  Over 40 programs (see matrix)  Can “build a rural community from the ground up”  Rural definition  Mostly loans for infrastructure, some grants  $200+ billion national loan portfolio  In Alaska, $2 billion in loans/grant in seven years  Key technical assistance grants include: ◦ Rural Business Development Grants (RBEG,RBOG) ◦ Rural Cooperative Development Grants ◦ Rural Community Development Initiatives
  10. 10.  Not all loans are created equal  Community Economic Development (CED)  “Bank with an agenda”  A local case study  The Alaska approach  Policy initiatives ◦ Poverty targeting ◦ Local foods ◦ Renewable energy, energy efficiency ◦ Broadband
  11. 11.  How we can help each other  Getting out from behind the desk (ivory tower)  UEDA can help implement RD’s CED approach  UEDA can create the dream, RD can finance it
  12. 12. Jim Nordlund Alaska State Director USDA Rural Development jim.nordlund@ak.usda.gov www.rd.gov/ak 907-761-7705
  13. 13. #UEDASummit

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