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Mar 15 18

SMAC – Art Legacy Project Grants Now Available

by Melissa

Exciting news!! SMAC added another round for Art Project grants and Art Legacy Project grants! The application deadline is April 25th by 4:30 pm, so start your applications soon! Click on the link to start your application or to learn more and good luck!

Mar 15 18

Community Development Planner Scholarships NOW Available

by Melissa

UMVRDC Community Development Planner Scholarship

What is a community development planner? Are you interested in work that makes a difference in rural Minnesota? Candidates that are passionate about their work, who are curious to find options and solutions for locally identified issues, and who relish in the idea of working on a diverse portfolio of work are ideal for this career field.
Planners influence roads, parks, internet access, buildings, public policy, natural resources and many other aspects in the cities and counties around us. If so, YOU might want to consider a career as a community development planner!

Scholarship Requirements: 

Application Process Click here to download the full application (RDC Scholarship)
1. Submit the application materials as requested below.
2. Applications will be considered throughout the year until all designated scholarship funds are awarded.
3. Application finalists will be invited to a personal interview with the scholarship committee.
4. Applications will be announced within 30 days of the interview.

5. Attach an essay (2-page maximum single spaced) explaining why you are interested in the planning field and what you hope to do with your degree after college graduation. Attach a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor.

For questions contact UMVRDC’s Executive Director, Dawn Hegland at 320.289.1981 x 101. Completed applications should be sent via mail or email to :

Dawn Hegland
UMVRDC Executive Director
323 West Schlieman Ave
Appleton MN 56208

Want to learn more about our agency or the region? Check out our agency hiring video; the UMVRDC or Western Minnesota Prairie Waters websites; or search for UMVRDC, Prairie Waters, or Get Rural MN on Facebook; or review our most recent annual report. Check out this short video about what a planner does The American Planning Association and the MN Chapter have some wonderful resources about the role and job responsibilities of a planner.

Sample Colleges and Universities in the Midwest with Planning Degrees

  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • Minnesota State University-Mankato
  • St Cloud State University
  • University of Iowa – Iowa City
  • Iowa State University – Ames
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Ball State University – Muncie, IN
Mar 13 18

NEW National Park Service Announces Grants Available for Tribal Heritage Projects

by Melissa

NEW National Park Service Announces Grants Available for Tribal Heritage Projects. Due May 11.

P18AS00081These grants assist Indian Tribes, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiian Organizations in protecting and promoting their unique cultural heritage and traditions. From the beginning, the program has been shaped by Indian tribes. It focuses heavily on what they are most concerned about protecting: Traditional skills, oral history, plant and animal species important in tradition, sacred and historic places, and the establishment of tribal historic preservation offices.

This funding opportunity is limited to Federally-recognized Tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian Organizations, as defined by 54 USC § 300300. Estimated Number of Agreements to be Awarded is 15, with an estimated range of $15,000.00 to $50,000.00 of funding anticipated for each award. Non-Federal cost share is not required for this agreement. Application Due Date: May 11, 2018, 11:59pm, EST

View the announcement for more information: P18AS00081

Mar 9 18

MnDOT Releases Mowing/Haying Permit Recommendations Report

by Melissa

MnDOT releases mowing, haying permit recommendations report

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released a report with recommendations regarding the agency’s mowing and haying permit process.

MnDOT developed the report, required by the 2017 Minnesota Legislature, with input from a stakeholder group of environmental, agricultural and other interests. In addition, MnDOT held nine listening sessions across the state during the past several months and took public comment via the website, email, regular mail and face-to-face. The information from the public engagement shaped the recommendations that were made available March 1.

“MnDOT is charged with managing and maintaining the roadway right of way,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We worked closely with Minnesotans from across the state to ensure that we fully understood the wishes and needs of others and how those things could be integrated with the state’s need to care for that land.”

The Legislature outlined specific elements for the recommendations, including:
• Ease of permit application or notification
• Frequency of permits or notification
• Priority given to the owner or occupant of private land adjacent to a state highway right of way
• Determination of authority to mow or hay state highway right of way in which adjacent land belongs to state or local government
• Recognition of differences in the amount of wildlife habitat based on geographic distribution across the state

The cover letter and the full report are available at as well as on the mowing/haying webpage. The cover letter contains MnDOT’s recommendations for changes to the permit process. The full report contains the recommendations as well as the feedback from the public meetings, including suggestions from the stakeholder group for changes in state law. It also details the process used by the stakeholder group to develop the recommendations.

Locations of the mowing/haying listening sessions and stakeholder meeting minutes can be found on the MnDOT mowing website at

Mar 8 18

MN Renewable Energy Roundtable

by Melissa

MN Renewable Energy Roundtable
March 14, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Join AURI in an event dedicated to Renewable Chemicals

With Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Toby Ahrens
National Program Leader
Agricultural Bioproducts, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture


Registration, refreshments and networking

Welcome and overview

Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Toby Ahrens, National Program Leader, NIFA-USDA “Opportunities with NIFA”

Sun Grant Panel

Moderator:  Dr. Vance Owens, Regional Director, North Central Regional Sun Grant Ctr., SDSU “Sun Grant Funding for Renewable Chemicals”


  • Dr. Gregg Johnson, Associate Professor, Dept. of Agronomy & Plant Genetics, Biomass Cropping Systems, Southern Research and Outreach Center-Waseca, University of Minnesota “Feedstock Development for Renewable Chemicals and Other Bioenergy
  • Dr. Goutham Vemuri, Chief Technologist, Sasya LLC “Developing Renewable Chemicals from Crop Residues from Biomass Sugars
  • Dr. Qi Hua Fan, Associate Professor, Depts. of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University “Energy Storage Options Using Renewable products

Networking Break 

Bioeconomy Panel

Moderator:  Rod Larkins, Senior Director of Science and Technology, AURI


  • Brendan Jordan, Vice President, Great Plains Institute, Lead Staff for Bioeconomy Coalition of MN
  • Dr. Eric Singsaas, Initiative Director-Wood Products and Bioeconomy, NRRI and Entrepreneur


Highlight:  Entrepreneur in Renewable Chemicals

  • Dr. Goutham Vemuri, Vice President of Technology Development, Aemetis Inc.

Financing and Technology Support Panel

Moderator:  Michael Sparby, Senior Project Strategist, AURI


  • Kevin Hennessy, Bioenergy Manager, Ag Marketing and Development Division, MN Department of Agriculture
  • Pat Dillon, Director, MN-SBIR, Minnesota Innovation and Commercialization Consortium; Minnesota High Tech Association

Table Discussion

Wrap Up

Register Here