New Hampshire’s three northern counties will benefit from a new three-year project to enhance the economy across its working landscape.
The Northern Tier Farm and Forest Jobs Accelerator project was announced Friday for Coos, Grafton and Carroll counties. It was one of only 13 rural investment projects announced by President Barack Obama under this multi-agency initiative.
Funding for the Northern Tier project will be provided by USDA Rural Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
“Our rural communities have great opportunities to turn raw natural resources into valuable products and to use our vast wood supply for highly efficient thermal energy,” said Rob Riley, president of the Northern Forest Center in Concord. “The Farm and Forest project aims to generate more income in these counties and keep more of it circulating in the rural economy.”
The project will draw on the expertise of several non-profits, including the Northern Community Investment Corporation, Northern Forest Center, White Mountains Community College, Sustainable Forest Futures, and Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.
The nonprofits will match the $708,750 federal grant with at least that much in private funding.
“This project combines the very best of public and private partnership,” said Molly Lambert, state director for USDA Rural Development in VT/NH. “Through its implementation we have an opportunity to increase jobs, expand products and markets, mitigate heating costs and properly utilize the capacity of our forests. USDA is proud to be a key supporter of this initiative.”
As part of the project, NCIC will boost the agricultural economy of the region by creating a business and financing plan for a value-added production facility.
In addition to New Hampshire’s three northern counties, the Northern Tier Farm and Forest Jobs Accelerator project will include Vermont’s Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties and Oxford and Franklin counties in Maine.
(c)2012 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)
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