ND REAP Zones Leverage $5.7 Million to $17 Million From 1999-2006

The REAP (Rural Economic Area Partnership) Investment Board announced the release of an Impact Study that highlights major activities and accomplishments of the two North Dakota REAP Zones from 1999-2006.

Primary accomplishments include:

• Leveraged $5.7 million REAP funds to $17 million, creating many more jobs and projects for rural areas

• Created/retained 446 jobs

• Completed 388 projects, including 50 new business start-ups and 64 feasibility/planning studies

In 1995, two United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot revitalization Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zones encompassing 14 counties in north-central and southwestern North Dakota, were created with the help of U.S. Senator Byron L. Dorgan to address critical issues related to out-migration and constraints in economic activity. The two North Dakota REAP Zones were named CONAC (Center of North America Coalition for Rural Development) and Southwest.

The report also reflects REAP Zones’ taxable sales and purchases have increased 10.7% annually over the past 3 years, higher than the 9.3% for all N.D. rural counties and 8.9% for the entire State. In addition, the REAP Zones have narrowed the gap on net migration during the last five years “The North Dakota REAP Zones have proven to be a valuable revitalization tool for our rural communities” states Curt Jacobson, Chairman of the REAP Investment Board.

Jim Belquist, REAP Executive Director stated, “The success of the REAP Zone activities can be attributed to many factors: earmarked funding from Senator Byron L. Dorgan; excellent support from the USDA-Rural Development North Dakota staff; the Zones’ partnerships with the regional councils; and the organization of the volunteer boards, which meet monthly to plan zone strategies, allocate resources and evaluate on-going projects. The North Dakota REAP Zones are organized to work individually and jointly on regional rural issues, an insightful approach to rural North Dakota challenges.”