Agriculture, tourism and wood products businesses across the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the North Country of New Hampshire will benefit from a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant announced to the Northern Forest Center.  USDA Rural Development State Director for Vermont and New Hampshire Ted Brady announced that the Concord, New Hampshire-based organization will receive a $250,000 Rural Community Development Initiative grant to provide technical assistance and strategic planning assistance through the Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC).

“The Northern Forest Center will use this grant to help build additional capacity at NCIC, enabling it to reach more entrepreneurs and help turn ideas into job-creating business opportunities,” said Brady. “The funding will allow NCIC to expand its staff’s ability to counsel and support agricultural, tourism, and wood products businesses – three sectors that have proven to be growing and sustainable sources of jobs across the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the North Country of New Hampshire.”

The new grant will build on work NCIC has begun with support from the Northern Border Regional Commission, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund. It will leverage an additional $250,000 of non-federal funding.

“This award will enable the Northern Forest Center and NCIC to better serve agricultural, tourism, and forest products businesses in northern New Hampshire and northeastern Vermont with business support and innovation services,” said Rob Riley, President of the Northern Forest Center. “The working lands sector is integral to this region and this grant will help to grow it as a source for economic and community development opportunity. We are grateful to USDA Rural Development for their support and partnership in this work.”

In FY15, USDA awarded $6.3 million in grants for 31 projects through the Rural Community Development Initiative program.