Business and Cooperative Programs

USDA Rural Development works in partnership with the private sector, local governments and community-based organizations to provide financial assistance and business planning. It also provides technical assistance to rural businesses and cooperatives, conducts research into rural economic issues, and provides cooperative educational materials to the public.

Rural Development Business Programs help fund projects that create or preserve quality jobs, encourage renewable energy/energy efficiency and promote a clean rural environment. USDA financial resources are often leveraged with those of other public and private credit source lenders to meet business and credit needs in underserved areas. Recipients of these programs may include individuals, corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Indian tribes and private companies. Rural Development Business Programs include Business and Industry Guaranteed and Direct Loans, Intermediary Relending Program Loans, Rural Business Enterprise Grants, Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants, Rural Business Opportunity Grants, Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Grants and Guaranteed Loans, and Rural Cooperative Development Grants.

USDA's Cooperative Programs help rural residents form new cooperative businesses and improve the operations of existing cooperatives (user-owned businesses). To accomplish this, Cooperative Programs provides the technical assistance to cooperatives. Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) are made to agricultural producers for planning and working capital for innovative methods that add value to agricultural production.


Business and Cooperative Contacts:

Jesse T. Risher, Program Director
1835 Assembly Street, Suite 1007
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 765-5881
Email: jesse.risher@sc.usda.gov

Douglas Dunkelberg
Business and Industry Specialist
1835 Assembly Street, Suite 1007
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone:  (803) 765-5533
Email: doug.dunkelberg@sc.usda.gov

Shannon Legree, Specialist
Energy Programs
1835 Assembly Street, Suite 1007
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 253-3150
Email: shannon.legree@sc.usda.gov

Debbie Turbeville, Specialist
Agricultural Marketing Specialist
215 Third Loop Road, Suite 100
Florence, SC 29205
Phone: (843) 669-9686 ext. 133
Email: debbie.turbeville@sc.usda.gov

Helpful Links: