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County Board Notification of Outdoor Heritage Fund Proposals

Each spring, the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) solicits habitat conservation project proposals to be considered for funding recommendation to the MN Legislature. This letter is to alert you to proposals that could, if they are successful in receiving LSOHC recommendation for funding and ultimate legislative approval of funding during the 2019 Legislative session, have projects within your county.

In accordance with MN Laws of 2018, Chapter 208, Sec. 4, Subd. 13(j), this letter and the web link listed below are to comply with statutory direction that the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) “provide counties with a list of project proposals that include potential fee title land acquisitions in the county that is based on that year’s funding requests received by the council from nongovernmental organizations.”

In an effort to provide each County Board with additional information beyond fee title acquisition activities, the linked spreadsheet also includes information of project proposals with habitat restoration, enhancement, and easement acquisition activities within each county.

With this information in mind, it is important to remember that these project proposals have not received funding. They are simply “proposals” at this time and this is the beginning of the process through which they are requesting funding.  The program managers will be able to provide you with detailed information including why, where, and how they hope to accomplish habitat work. Hopefully, increasing communication between County Boards and nongovernmental organizations who propose working in your county will provide greater knowledge, transparency, and overall collaboration.

Additionally, the LSOHC invites your County Board’s feedback regarding the program proposals seeking funding for work in your county. The LSOHC will conduct hearings on August 22-24, to be of greatest impact we suggest any feedback be submitted prior to the hearings. It is our hope that this opportunity will increase communication and lead to stronger and more widely supported project proposals in the future.

Ultimately, the Council’s goal is to recommend the use of Outdoor Heritage Fund monies to protect, restore, and enhance Minnesota’s natural habitat resources to the benefit of future generations. With that responsibility in mind, the Council continuously strives to increase communication and promote inclusion of diverse partnerships. Your involvement and feedback can help the Council come to the best decisions.

For further information, please feel free to contact LSOHC staff. Their contact information is available on the LSOHC website;

USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Improve the Rural Economy by Strengthening Cooperative Development Centers

USDA Rural Development State Director Brad Finstad today announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants under USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant program (RCDG).   

This program helps improve the economic condition of rural areas by helping individuals and businesses start, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses. Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply. Public bodies, for-profit business and individuals are not eligible. USDA expects to award up to $5.8 million for FY 2018.

The maximum grant award is $200,000. Grants may be used to develop and operate a Rural Cooperative Development Center that could provide the following technical assistance and other services to rural businesses:

  • Conducting feasibility studies
  • Developing business plans
  • Providing leadership and operational improvement training 

Questions about the application process may be directed to your local Rural Development Area Office. Paper applications are due July 30, 2018.  Electronic applications are due July 24, 2018. For more information, see page 24726 of the May 30 Federal Register or visit   

USDA encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the report to the President from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to help improve life in rural America. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:

  • Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
  • Developing the Rural Economy
  • Harnessing Technological Innovation
  • Supporting a Rural Workforce
  • Improving Quality of Life