The U.S. Department of Agriculture, along with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, will give technical assistance to rural communities in Southern West Virginia to help create and implement long-term economic plans over two years, U.S. Rep. Carol Miller announced this week.

The USDA will provide planning assistance to the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority to update Mingo County's Comprehensive Master Plan.

"The Rural Economic Development Innovative grant award will allow the MCRA to update Mingo County's Comprehensive Master Plan in order to define a new strategic design across several different sectors, including transportation, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, economic development, and more," said Leasha Johnson, executive director of the MCRA.

"We're seeking to build a more diversified economy for our communities, businesses and workers, and the completion of this master plan update will allow us to dedicate new resources for economic diversification and job creation through the identification and development of strong industries and economic sectors," Johnson added. "We're thankful for the USDA's selection of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority, and for the support of our congressional delegation, in this highly competitive application process. We look forward to working with the Central Appalachian Network as our REDI collaborator and provider of technical assistance throughout the planning process."

Another recipient is the Economic Development Center East, where planning assistance will be used to enhance quality of life, combat the opioid crisis and identify solutions to solve the community's food desert. Citizens of McDowell and Mercer Counties in West Virginia will benefit from this assistance.

"I am thankful for President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's continued commitment to improving our rural communities," Miller, R-W.Va., said. "This assistance from the USDA and its partners will help strengthen our economy, build our infrastructure, and combat the opioid crisis plaguing our state. Together we will carry Southern West Virginia into a strong future."