August 2023

MPCA Awards Grants to St. Peter and Comfrey to Prepare for Extreme Weather

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Commissioner Katrina Kessler and Assistant Commissioner Frank Kohlasch were in St. Peter to announce that the city received a $57,000 grant. The grant will allow the city to study the flow of water, sediment, and nutrients during high rainfall events as it looks for ways to manage excessive water flow. Comfrey also received a $10,000 grant from the MPCA to conduct a community resilience plan to identify how a changing climate will affect the city.

Kessler spoke in St. Peter along with RNDC Commissioners, Shanon Nowell, Mayor of St. Peter and Gary Richter, Mayor of Comfrey.

RNDC Executive Director Nicole Griensewic also spoke. Griensewic said, "Once other communities can see what action is being taken, it will only help create more ideas and other communities will apply for funds to be able to take similar types of action."

The group also traveled to Comfrey and New Ulm to tour the cities and speak with stakeholders about community issues.

Watch the KEYC Story

In Memory of RNDC Commissioner Doug Trytten

Region Nine is saddened to announce the loss of Kiester Mayor and RNDC Commissioner Doug Trytten. Doug was a member of the commission in 2018 and again in 2023. He leaves a legacy of dedicated service to Kiester and Region Nine.

He will be remembered for his commitment to the region and his sense of humor. Doug had a special talent for creating connections with everyone he met. With his wide range of interests, he could talk sports, movies, music, and current events with anyone he met. Doug’s love of music led him to teach himself how to play guitar and mandolin.

“Doug was a truly remarkable individual whose contributions to our community have left an indelible mark. As a commissioner and mayor, Doug's commitment to public service was unwavering, and his impact in Region Nine will be impossible to replace," said RNDC Executive Director Nicole Griensewic.

There will be a celebration of his life on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the Kee Theatre in Kiester.

You can read Doug’s full obituary by clicking the button below.

Read the Full Obituary 

RNDC Awarded HeroX Federal Prize

RNDC has been awarded a $100,000 grant through the HeroX Federal Prize for the development of a certification that will pave the way for promoting the region as a Biofuel Development Opportunity (BDO) Zone.


A BDO Zone is a designated area that fosters the growth and implementation of sustainable biofuel technologies. By becoming a certified BDO Zone, Region Nine will be positioned as a leader in sustainable development and play a crucial role in advancing the use of biofuels. 


The certification obtained through the HeroX Federal Prize will allow Region Nine to establish strategic partnerships with key stakeholders, such as the Department of Agriculture, Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership (MSP), and the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative (CAAFI). These collaborations will further drive the region's progress toward becoming a prominent hub for biofuel production and utilization. 


By embracing biofuel technologies, Region Nine aims to contribute significantly to the aviation industry's transition towards sustainable practices. The partnership with CAAFI will play a pivotal role in integrating biofuels into commercial aviation, reducing carbon emissions, and enhancing the overall sustainability of the industry. 


This achievement marks a significant milestone for the region. With the HeroX Federal Prize funding, south central Minnesota will be positioned to develop and implement the necessary infrastructure and initiatives to become a leading region for biofuel production and a model for sustainable development. 


Looking ahead, RNDC is now eligible to apply for another federal prize of $200,000, thanks to the certification they have obtained. With this newfound qualification, RNDC aims to utilize the funding to further promote the region and its initiatives.

RNDC is Hiring an Economic Development Intern

RNDC is looking for an Economic Development Intern to assist our planners in the community.

This paid internship will provide the opportunity to work on planning projects, present to community organizations and stakeholders, assist with research and data analysis, and coordinate economic development events.

If you're interested in economic development, regional planning, and community engagement, this is an excellent opportunity to earn while you learn!

Learn More and Apply

Local Foods Week Recap

The 2nd Annual Local Foods Week took place July 24-30. This year, eight restaurants and seven farms participated in the event which was developed to increase awareness and investment around local foods in south-central Minnesota.

The farmers are members of the South Central Minnesota Growers’ Network which is a group of local, sustainable farmers and food producers who learn and share together to grow their businesses. Members largely sell their products through Community Supported Agriculture shares (CSAs), at Farmer’s Markets, and through their websites. Local Foods Week provides an opportunity to increase the public’s awareness of the growers and the availability of locally-sourced products.

“The goal of the event was to create meaningful connections between local farms and restaurants and educate community members on all the amazing food that is grown in our region so they can support local businesses,” said RNDC Environment and Sustainability Planner, Sabri Fair.

The annual event is put together through a partnership between RNDC, Minnesota State University-Mankato's Strategic Partnership Center, Mogwai Collaborative, and the South Central Minnesota Growers' Network.

Watch Local Foods Week Recipe Videos

$5,000-$10,000 Seed Grants Available for Community Clean Energy Grants

Clean Energy Resource Teams are offering seed grants from $5,000-$10,000 for clean energy projects within Minnesota focus areas, including energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, electric vehicle-related projects, and energy storage.

Priority will be given to projects that are highly visible in the community and can be an example for other areas. Please read the Request for Proposals in full before you apply, and email with any questions.

Learn More

Charging Forward: A Toolkit for Planning and Funding Rural Electric Mobility Infrastructure

The Federal Government has set a goal to make half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be zero-emissions by 2030. To aid in this goal, the U.S. Department of Transportation has created a toolkit for planning and funding for rural electric vehicle infrastructure.

Twenty percent of U.S. residents reside in rural areas, and nearly 70% of roadways are outside of urban centers. Rural citizens also drive farther and spend more on fuel and vehicle maintenance. Adoption of an electric vehicle infrastructure has the potential to reduce those costs while minimizing the impact on the planet.

Download the Charging Forward Toolkit

MN Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Minnesota Department of Transportation created the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program and the MN Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan.

Minnesota is expected to invest approximately $68 million into electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure over the next five years. The plan currently focuses on light-duty EV charging needs. Later this year, the plan will be updated to address medium- and heavy-duty EVs.

The plan is available to the public and can be viewed by clicking the button below.

View the MN EV Infrastructure Plan

Welcoming Week is September 8-17

Welcoming Week is an annual campaign that celebrates the communities working to become welcoming places for all. Launched in 2012 by Welcoming America and its members, Welcoming Week provides individuals and organizations the opportunity to showcase their values through events and initiatives that foster connections and collaboration between immigrants and non-immigrants, as well as belonging for all.

For communities looking to hold Welcoming Week events, there is a toolkit that includes logos, images, communication tools, and event planning guides.

Learn More
View the Toolkit

Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year Contest

is Now Accepting Applications

The Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year contest recognizes grocery and liquor stores that promote foods produced by Minnesota Grown members, including fresh produce, meat and poultry, cheese and dairy, packaged goods, and wine, cider, beer, spirits and more! Each applicant will choose a one-week showcase during the contest period for a focused promotional effort in their store, and through related marketing.

The contest runs from August 1-September 29, and winners will be announced in early 2024.

Learn More

GreenSeam Launches Global Workforce Program

GreenSeam's Global Workforce Program will subsidize up to $3,000 of consulting and legal fees with our Legal & Human Resources Partners to prepare your business for the acquisition, retention, and accommodation of foreign-born talent.

Hiring international professionals can present complex challenges; GreenSeam's Global Workforce Program provides access to legal counsel and HR assistance to help navigate these challenges.

This program is made possible in-part to funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the support of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, Mogwai Collaborative, Southern Agriculture Center of Excellence at South Central College, Minnesota State University-Mankato Strategic Partnership Center, and RNDC.

Learn More

$$ Grant Opportunities $$

Community Planning Grants for Stormwater, Wasterwater, and Community Resilience

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will distribute $500,000 for climate planning projects for cities of less than 10,000 people. The funding aims to assist communities in increasing the resilience of wastewater systems, reducing flooding risks, and reducing the human health effects in regards to climate change.

Deadline: Sept. 7, 2023

Learn More

Funding Available to Help Increase MN Agricultural Product Sales

Businesses and livestock processors seeking to start up, modernize, or expand their operations are encouraged to apply for two funding opportunities currently available through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the AGRI Value-Added Grant and the AGRI Meat, Poultry, Egg, and Milk Processing Grant.

Deadline: Oct. 12, 2023

Learn More

About Region Nine

Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of economic development, business development, healthy communities, transportation, community development, and leveraging regional resources. To learn more about our work and mission, visit
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