How are you going to get them back on the farm? The North Dakota State University Extension Service and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Service have teamed up to answer that question. They’ve released a new program, “Marketing Agritourism Online,” to help agritourism enterprises attract business. The program is available at http://go.unl.edu/agritourism
Agritourism is defined as any agriculture-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. Examples are U-pick fruit farms, farm stands or shops, farm stays, tours, on-farm classes, fairs, festivals, pumpkin patches and Christmas tree farms.
--Langdon, ND-- One thing that Cavalier County does well is planning. They have been creating, updating, and implementing projects from their strategic plan ever since they learned how to back in 2001. The training they received as a Champion Community, the handbooks, and benchmark system has worked very well for them over the years. Since their first plan, nearly $400 million in project investments have been completed with another $20 million in process. And, of course, their work plan includes new goals that will require around $30 million for projects yet to be started.
To mention just a few of their accomplishments, they have upgraded parking lots, storefronts, and county-wide infrastructure, including water supply improvements, a waste water lagoon expansion, and water treatment advances. They participated in a Wind Farm Technician Training Project at Lake Region State College in order to have trained wind technicians for their local wind farm. They expanded health care services to include several specialties and made several improvements to parks, playgrounds, parking lots, and tennis courts. For a county with a total population of less than 4,000 residents, Cavalier County does a great job of planning a future for themselves and their children.
There is a new program in North Dakota that provides loans up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses. Loan proceeds from the Rural Micro-Entrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) can be used to purchase furniture, fixtures, and equipment, provide working capital, and debt refinancing.
So far this year, there have been three projects helped along by the program. In Dickinson, CherryBerry, a self-serve yogurt bar boasting 21 flavors, was the first business to take advantage of the RMAP loan program. In January, a new restaurant opened in Minot and got a boost with its start-up using the RMAP program. In southeastern North Dakota, a small excavation company was the third successful applicant to receive funds for their business.
Anamoose is a city of 236 people located 16 miles from Harvey, not quite 60 miles southeast of Minot, in central North Dakota. We have been watching them and can't help but notice how very active they are. They have a blog, which they started after having been a part of the Horizons community leadership project with NDSU. The program encouraged participants to use blogging for local communications. What they probably won't mention is that a lot of other Horizon communities are not quite so faithful in their blogging as Anamoose still is now that the Horizons project is ended.
If you go on their website, you will find their events link which is a downloadable calendar that you can print out and hang on your refrigerator. And you will need to do so, if you live in Anamoose, because there is something going on almost every day of the month.
There are many resources available to rural communities for development. This week we are featuring North Dakota USDA Rural Development and some communities working hard on local and regional projects.
The following articles and photos are excerpts from the 2012 USDA Rural Development Newsletters. These are good examples of the type of projects USDA funding could support in your community.
Care Center breaks ground on expansion
As the level of care for residents has changed, so has the demand for privacy and space. The Napoleon Care Center broke ground on an expansion project to meet those needs. USDA Rural Development is helping with the project by providing a $1.8 million direct loan and a $500,000 guaranteed loan through the First Community Credit Union.
The 44-bed nursing home, built in 1965, will be renovated and a 6,460 square foot addition constructed. The upgrades will consist of window replacements, new flooring, new generator, updated resident call system, new doors, and a remodeled activity room. The expansion will add eight new semi-private rooms while eight private rooms will be created in the current building. The new construction will also expand the dining room, add a new bathing room facility, and create more administrative space.
BISMARCK – The Industrial Commission of North Dakota has reported that more than 600 private investors have successfully capitalized the $15 million state Housing Incentive Fund (HIF).
“Thanks to North Dakota citizens and our business community, the Housing Incentive Fund is fully capitalized and available to move forward on affordable housing projects in western North Dakota and across the state,” members of the Industrial Commission said in a joint statement. “With legislative approval, we will continue to utilize the Housing Incentive Fund to encourage even greater affordable housing development.”
Check any guide on starting a new business and you probably will see encouragement to develop a business plan. “Yet often the business owner proceeds without undertaking this crucial step,” says Glenn Muske, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s rural and agribusiness enterprise development specialist.. “Not having a business plan can mean costly mistakes or oversights for your business. It may mean missing an opportunity or failing to diagnosis a potential threat.”
And if business owners do write a plan, it often just ends up on the shelf, coming out only when they need to approach a funding source for money, Muske adds.
The small town of Mountain, North Dakota understands the importance of community very well. Settled in the 1870s by Icelandic immigrants, Mountain has emphasized its sense of unity and purpose for over a century. It only made sense that in recent years, the community desired to provide their people with a space in which to gather together. Their self-proclaimed mission: To provide a modern, multi-purpose facility for the City of Mountain and the surrounding region. Never mind that the total population hovers around 100. In their case, where there was a will, they made a way. Through perseverance and a variety of funding partners, their 14,400 square foot dream became a reality.
Mountain was awarded a number of grants in order to bring this addition to their community. They received two USDA Rural Business Enterprise grants for $245,000 and $279,430, a Communities Facilities Grant for $151,423, a North Dakota Commerce Department grant for $25,000, and $5,000 from Pembina County Job Development.
Michael A. Anderson, NDHFA Executive Director
The long anticipated 2012 Statewide Housing Needs Assessment is now completed and available for everyone’s use. While taking in the overall message the Assessment offers, most may find few surprises in the numbers. However, when you ratchet down to certain population segments or geographic areas of the state, it contains some intriguing numbers about what North Dakota will look like in the future. The assessment, completed by the Center for Social Research at North Dakota State University, attempts to forecast the state’s population, as well as household formations from 2010 to 2025. It is organized by the state and the eight planning regions, each region’s associated counties and large cities, and the four major Native American Indian Reservations. The following are some of our initial take-aways from the Assessment:
Published by North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC)
The local foods movement continues to develop, as families, schools and other consumers increasingly opt for fresh, local food items. Local foods advocates are forming organizations intended to foster local foods enterprise and the cooperative business structure is emerging as an effective model. Existing food cooperatives are also taking strides in making local foods available to members.
by Randy Kingsley
Lake Agassiz Regional Development Corporation has been selected by USDA Rural Development to administer the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program in the state of North Dakota. The program provides for loans up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses located in rural areas of the state. Businesses located outside of Fargo/West Fargo and Bismarck/Mandan are eligible.
By: Alan Haut, Lender Relations Specialist; North Dakota District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration
Banks and credit unions make money by charging a higher interest rate on loans than they pay in interest for savings accounts. They process large and small loans in the same fashion and have to go through the same basic steps of analyzing the proposal, completing credit checks on the applicants, and preparing loan documents. Although they may charge a similar interest rate, they make more net money on larger loans. In the case of lending, volume does pay off.
By: Alan Haut, Lender Relations Specialist North Dakota District Office
U.S. Small Business Administration
Many small businesses are limited in their sales potential by their current facilities. If a business wants to construct a new facility or renovate an existing building, the SBA's 504 loan program can help. The program matches a limited equity injection by the owner (10, 15, or 20%) with a commercial real estate loan and a loan through a local certified development corporation (CDC), which is backed by the SBA.
Hazen, North Dakota is a community committed to the arts and beautifying their city. In 2002, the Hazen Chamber of Commerce proposed a city park be built on an empty commercial lot downtown as a beautification project. The city approved the plan and the park was officially called the Paul Weiser Memorial Park in honor of Paul Weiser, a former city forester who contributed greatly to city beautification projects in Hazen. The park is also known as the Paul Weiser Pocket Park.
Everyone got involved with building the Pocket Park. The Hazen High School Peer Youth Workers volunteered to help get the project going. They dug dirt for the fountain and helped plant trees and shrubs. Other student groups helped place paving stones. The Hazen Art Association painted a mural on the wall of the building bordering the park. The Chamber of Commerce held a work day to raise the shelter. Local businesses provided volunteers and Hazen residents came out to help. Throughout the project, businesses helped in many ways and generously contributed to the funding for the park project.
Have you tasted something, then told the cook, “You should sell that.”? Or maybe someone has said that to you. This simple comment might just be the idea for a new business.
“Individuals who make good food often are encouraged to start a business selling that product,” says Glenn Muske, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s rural and agribusiness enterprise development specialist. “These businesses may have a strong start, but once local demand is met, the business owner has no other market. He or she may have some luck with word-of-mouth, but that only goes so far in developing a solid, ongoing business.”
Starting a business is a dream for many individuals.
“The idea of using one’s own creativity and controlling your own time sounds so attractive,” says Glenn Muske, North Dakota State University Extension Service rural and agribusiness enterprise development specialist. “Yet often the prospective business owner spends little time considering the financial perspectives of business ownership. The owner must understand how much startup capital is needed and where it might come from, but some of the more crucial questions are left unanswered. ”
By: Deb Walworth, Executive Director Prairie West Development Foundation
My Three Phase Housing Project started about 4 years ago, because I was getting a lot of calls at my office by people looking for places to live. I started wondering what we could do locally. We weren’t seeing any oil impact, just ordinary people looking for a place to live. So, I got to thinking about the houses that have notoriously been left uninhabited while grandma & grandpa went to the Manor or the nursing home (because they might want to move back there some day). I started driving around taking pictures of homes no one was living in.
“Taxpayer contributions to the North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund (HIF) are being put to work. The Industrial Commission announced today that the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) has allocated a total of $4.3 million in flexible financing for the development of 316 new rental units. The fund is capitalized by contributions from state income and financial institution taxpayers.
“North Dakota is strengthening its communities, with neighbor helping neighbor,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “The Housing Incentive Fund received more than $6.3 million during its initial fundraising campaign and those dollars will go to work to create homes for North Dakota families, seniors and workers.”
“Affordable housing development in Mercer County is now a Housing Incentive Fund (HIF) priority. The Industrial Commission has approved an amendment to the state program’s allocation plan, adding Mercer County to a list of counties eligible for set-aside dollars.
“Through the state’s new Housing Incentive Fund we are providing more affordable housing in North Dakota,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has already put these dollars to work in 11 new multi-family housing projects in areas where affordable rents are most needed.”