Rural Development, Forestry, and Communities

To help rural areas analyze and assess forest resource opportunities, maximize local economic potential through market development and expansion, and diversify communities' economic base.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

In fiscal year 1999-2000, Catron County Citizens group, NM, developed a forest restoration plan for the Negrito Ecosystem, created a local Economic Development plan, and established a log sort yard and business incubator.

New Mexico State University Advanced Manufacturing Center, NM, assisted P&M Signs of Mountainair in the design and construction of prototype equipment for producing juniper/plastic composite materials to be used in construction and sign applications.

Painted Sky RC&D, CO, worked with Delta Timber to conduct an economic feasibility test with 4X4-inch width materials for end and edge glueing into wider and longer materials suitable for manufacture of furniture and cabinets.

Utah State Rural Development Council, UT, worked with the Southern Utah Forest Products Association to build skills and cooperative marketing strategies for producers of value-added small diameter wood products, as well as to make connections to regional, national, and international markets.

Office of Community Services, Fort Lewis College (regional), is developing an evaluation program for Four Corners Partnership projects in forestry in order to describe and assess project outcomes.

Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Hardwoods Commission are working together to establish policies for conservation of the State's hardwood resources.

The secondary wood products industry in Oregon was surveyed to determine what specific types of training were needed to assist in improving the skills and education of workers in the industry, leading to development of curricula later offered by the State's community college system.

Overall, 1,500 communities and 1,000 organizations assisted in fiscal year 1997; 2,400 communities and 1,200 organizations assisted in fiscal year 1998; and 2,200 communities and 1,000 organizations assisted in fiscal year 1999.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - Refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for Regional and Area State and Private Forestry offices of the Forest Service and for addresses and telephone numbers of Regional Foresters and Area Director of the Forest Service.

Program Accomplishments

A new electronic reporting system is under development at this time. No measures reported at this time.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funding may be allocated for such things as technical assistance, training and education, equipment, marketing, and all costs associated with making these services available to tribal nations, State and Federal agencies, State Foresters, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and others who are extending services to rural communities.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Tribal nations, State and Federal agencies, State Foresters, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and others working in support of community identified goals.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Tribal nations, State and Federal agencies, State Foresters, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and others. Forest Service Regions/Areas/Institutes are encouraged to further define program policies that focus resources to meet the regional, State and local needs of communities.


Assistance is in response to a community or a group of communities' request for assistance in identifying opportunities and implementing action that will promote natural resource-based economic diversification and opportunities, technology transfer, market development and/or expansion.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Not applicable. Contact Regional or Local Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog. No community grants are reviewed or awarded at the National Office.

Award Procedures

Established by the Regional Office in support of an overall regional strategic plan.


Communities are requested to submit form SF-424 (A) with SF-424 application and other required forms as advised by the Regional Office.


Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Public Law 106-291.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

The maximum is 60 days.


Not applicable.


SF-424(A) with SF-424 application is required to amend the awarded amount or length of commitment. Other requirements may be established by the Regional Office.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

The Federal contribution to the overall implementation of a planned project may have a matching requirement, but that match is negotiated. No statutory match.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Financial assistance may be a combination of different interests that seek to support planned action by the community or a group of communities to diversify the local economy and to improve its social, economic, and environmental well being. Limitation on length of funded projects will be established at the Forest Service administrative unit (generally, will not exceed 5 years).

Post Assistance Requirements


Periodic and final reports are required.


In accordance with the provisions of 7 CFR Part 3052 which implement OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," Nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 7 CFR 3052.


State and other generally accepted accounting systems can be used if control procedures allow for proper audit and reconciliation. All grantees must maintain adequate systems for collecting and recording statistical data.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $0; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$1,000 to $50,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Forest Service Implementation Guidelines available in all Forest Service offices. OMB Circular Nos. A-102 and A-87 are applicable to State and Local Governments, A-110 and A-21 are applicable to educational institutions, and A-110 and A-122 are applicable to Nonprofit Organizations. USDA Implementing Regulations 7 CFR 3015, 3016, 3017, 3018, and 3019 also apply depending on the type of recipient. Legislative history found in Senate and Conference reports 1988, 1989, and 1990 and Forest Service revised guidelines (May 2000).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for Regional and Area State and Private Forestry offices of the Forest Service and for addresses and telephone numbers of Regional Foresters and Area Director of the Forest Service.

Headquarters Office

Telephone: (202)205-1657USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Regional/Area/Institute administrative units are given the flexibility to make funding decisions based on their specific community and regional priorities documented in a regional strategy for their respective administrative areas. These overall strategies are identified through input by States, tribal nations, local agencies and organizations.

Social Entrepreneurship

A Social Enterprise Inspired by Charcoal

Greenchar, a social enterprise led by Tom Osborn, provides eco-friendly, smokeless, high energy and quality charcoal briquettes and clean cook stoves that allow individuals to save time, money and energy. Greenchar is an alternative energy source to charcoal and firewood used for cooking.

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