Rural Matters

Redwood Valley

August 18, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

From “The New Crucible of Innovation”, a presentation by Brian Dabson/RUPRI to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in April, 2009

This is an extraordinary time for rural America to make new contributions to national prosperity in four main areas:

  • § Growing and processing food – quantity, quality, and sustainability
  • § Energy independence – extractive and renewable
  • § Realizing economic value of nature’s services – stewardship
  • § Protecting and managing rural experiences – natural, cultural

And the three powerful strategies:

  • § Regionalism – cooperation and collaboration across jurisdictions, sectors
  • § Assets – building on unique strengths, triple bottom line
  • § Entrepreneurship – conversion of assets into economic opportunity

Editorial Comment: The ideas expressed above read like economic developments in Mendocino County during recent decades.  An example of each in order:

  • § Farmer’s Markets throughout the county are supplied largely by local small farms and ranches and the diversity of products is growing
  • § Feasibility studies are being conducted to assess the potential for biomass and pellet manufacturing
  • § If initiated these technologies will contribute to fire safety and forest stewardship
  • § Walking trails along the coast and in the Ukiah Valley continue to be developed
  • § The Six Targets of Opportunity are recognized as job growth areas in a region that includes Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Trinity and Mendocino Counties
  • § Transition to a green wine industry continues to grow
  • § Entrepreneurship is alive and well in the county despite rather modest resources to support fledgling entrepreneurs – small and microbusinesses are clearly the economic mainstay of rural communities; in Mendocino County, they account for 85% of the jobs

Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) Program: The RBEG program provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses. To assist with business development, RBEGs may fund a broad array of activities. The House and Senate included $38.7 million in its 2010 budget for the RBEG program, the same as President Obama’s budget request.