USDA’s New Mexico office for Rural Development recently announced that it has added two New Mexico regions, the “Mid Central Rural Corridor and South Eastern New Mexico regions to participate in the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program.”
As stated in the press release from the Albuquerque office of USDA’s Rural Development program, “The SET program is a joint initiative between the Western Regional Rural Development Center at Utah State University, New Mexico State University (NMSU) Cooperative Extension and USDA Rural Development to provide assistance in community and economic development planning.
“For the next year the technical assistance and educational support will be provided by the NMSU Extension educators, RD staff, and other regional Rural Development Centers.
“South Eastern New Mexico project encompasses Chaves, Lea, Eddy, Roosevelt and The Mid Central Rural Corridor project includes the counties of Los Alamos, Sandoval and Bernalillo. The Curry counties
“For the next year the technical assistance and educational support will be provided by the NMSU Extension educators, RD staff, and other regional Rural Development Centers.”
Earlier today, in a related story The Candle, reported on a letter to President Trump from twenty-nine US Senators imploring him not to cut billions of dollars for agricultural and rural development projects and programs. (Click here for that story.)
At the end of 2016, The Candle reported that New Mexico’s state government trailed many states in the amount of funds sought and received for rural and agricultural assistance, writing then that, “New Mexico’s efforts can best be described as anemic.”(Click here for that story.)
This recent effort by the local USDA Rural Development office could be a shot in the arm for New Mexico’s weak economic performance.
As Eric Vigil, USDA Rural Development Acting State Director, stated in the announcement of May 24, 2017, “We believe the SET program will be instrumental in helping these two new regions identify their economic strengths which will allow them to create sustainable economic opportunities.”
Prior to the addition of the two new SET regions the following regions have participated in the SET program:
- East Central New Mexico – ECNM SET- Torrance, Guadalupe, De Baca, Quay;
- Middle Rio Grande Economic Development Association- MRGEDA- Socorro, Catron, Sierra and Valencia;
- North Central Tribal Groups SET- Tesuque, San Ildefonso, Picuris;
- Northeast Economic Development Organization – NEEDO – Colfax, Union, Mora, Harding, San Miguel, Quay and Guadalupe counties;
- South Central Mountains Economic Development Assn. – SCMEDA- Lincoln and Otero counties and the Mescalero Apache reservation;
- Trail of the Ancients- San Juan, McKinley Cibola Counties.
According to Vigil, these regions “have already seen success in their economic development because they are working together to achieve their common goal of creating better economic opportunities.”