Input sought for economic development

A new regional economic development group has hit its latest milestone and needs input from the public on a draft plan before it is submitted to USDA Rural Development in November.

The Middle Rio Grande Economic Development Association has been meeting since October to develop a strategic plan to strengthen economic vitality in the four-county region of Valencia, Socorro, Catron and Sierra counties.

Representatives from the region met for one last planning session last week at the University of New Mexico-Valencia campus to review the draft plan.

Collaborating with USDA Rural Development’s Stronger Economies Together program and New Mexico State University, representatives from the four counties have met nearly a dozen times and developed action plans for five economic clusters — agriculture, arts, recreation, entertainment and visitor industries, health care and social assistance services, renewable energy and forest products and technology.

The strategic plan focusing on those five areas has been drafted and Deb Caldwell, the lead coordinator for the MRGEDA SET, is asking the public throughout the region to weigh in and offer feedback on the plan.

“As a resident of the Middle Rio Grande region, you have a stake in its future,” said Caldwell. “We need to hear from you. We welcome your comments and suggestions for improving the strategic plan.”

The latest draft of the strategic plan can be found online at, and comments about the draft plan should be sent to Caldwell said she would like to receive comments by mid-October at the latest, so there is time to incorporate new information into the plan.

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