Funding for Cooperatives

Rural Development provides a variety of funding opportunities for which cooperatives may be eligible. To learn more about these opportunities, please select a program from the list below. To view information about all financial assistance available through Rural Development, please click on the Loans or Grants links on the left side of the page.

Advanced Biofuel Payment Program
The Advanced Biofuel Payment Program provides payments to producers to support and expand production of advanced biofuels refined from sources other than corn kernel starch. The program supports and helps to ensure the expanding production of advanced biofuels by providing payments to eligible advanced biofuel producers. Eligible applicants include cooperatives.

Biorefinery Assistance Program
The Biorefinery Assistance program provides loan guarantees for the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial-scale biorefineries. Eligible applicants include cooperatives.

Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program
The Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan program provides loan guarantees to improve, develop, or finance business, industry, and employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. The B & I program can also be used for guaranteed loans to cooperative members for cooperative equity stock purchases.

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program
The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program is designed specifically to meet the educational and health care needs of rural America. Through loans, grants and loan/grant combinations, advanced telecommunications technologies provide enhanced learning and health care opportunities for rural residents. Eligible applicants include cooperatives.

Intermediary Relending Program
The Intermediary Relending program provides loans to local organizations, including cooperatives, to establish revolving loan funds. These revolving loan funds are used to finance ultimate recipients to alleviate poverty and increase economic activity and employment in rural communities. Applicants must be experienced in making and servicing revolving loans. Cooperatives are also eligible ultimate recipients.

High Energy Cost Grant Program
The High Energy Cost Grant Program provides financial assistance for the improvement of energy generation, transmission, and distribution facilities servicing eligible rural communities with home energy costs that are over 275 percent of the national average. Eligible applicants include cooperatives.

Repowering Assistance Program

The Repowering Assistance Program provides payments to eligible biorefineries to replace fossil fuels used to produce heat or power to operate the biorefineries with renewable biomass. It provides reimbursement payments to help offset the costs associated with converting existing fossil fuel systems to renewable biomass fuel systems. Eligible applicants must produce and sell an advanced biofuel. Cooperatives are eligible to apply.

Rural Business Opportunity Grants

The Rural Business Opportunity Grant program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs through the provision technical assistance for business development. Eligible applicants include cooperatives whose members are primarily rural residents.

Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program
The Rural Cooperative Development Grant program provides funding for establishing and operating centers for cooperative development. The primary purpose of these centers is improving the economic condition of rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives.

Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program provides funding to rural projects through local utility organizations, including utility cooperatives. Under the Loan program, Rural Development provides zero interest loans to local utilities. These utilities then work with local businesses on projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. Under the Grant program, Rural Development provides grant funds to local utility organizations to establish revolving loan funds. Loans are made from the revolving loan fund to projects, including cooperatives, that will create or retain rural jobs.

Rural Energy for America Program - Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant Program
The Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant program provides assistance to organizations that will assist agriculture producers and small rural businesses by conducting energy audits and providing information on renewable energy development assistance. Eligible applicants include rural electric cooperatives.

Rural Energy for America Program – Feasibility Study Grant Program
The REAP Feasibility Study Grant assists eligible applicants in completing a feasibility study for an eligible Renewable Energy System that can qualify for a REAP Renewable Energy System Grant and/or Loan Guarantee application.

Feasibility studies are required in applications for many of USDA’s and other government agencies’ energy programs. The Feasibility Study Grant program assists financially applicants that need to complete a study. Eligible applicants include cooperatives.

Rural Energy for America Program – Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program
The Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses, including cooperatives, in rural America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems; make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities; use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption; and participate in energy audits, renewable energy development assistance, and feasibility studies.

Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant Program
The Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program provides technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers through eligible cooperatives and associations of cooperatives.

Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program
The Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan program makes long-term direct and guaranteed loans to qualified organizations for the purpose of financing the improvement, expansion, construction, acquisition, and operation of telephone lines, facilities, or systems to furnish and improve telecommunications service in rural areas. Eligible applicants include cooperatives.

Value-Added Producer Grant Program
The Value-Added Producer Grant program provides grants for business planning and working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy. Eligible applicants include farmer and rancher cooperatives.

For questions about these programs, please contact your Rural Development State Office. For cooperative-related questions, please contact: