Portland, OR, Jul 05, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development today announced they accepting applications for grants to support regional economic development strategies and promote job creation through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) program.
“The Obama Administration is working on a regional basis to build networks of strong, self-sustaining rural communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This program will help create jobs and assist in identifying and developing business opportunities in rural areas.”
The program supports strategic economic development planning and capacity building activities with grants to nonprofits, public bodies, tribes, or cooperatives. Private business and individuals are not eligible to apply directly for this grant.
Nationwide, $1.5 million is available to general applicants, with another $990,000 set aside for Native American projects. Projects serving Native American populations may be submitted through either pool of funds. Applications to the general funding pool are limited to $50,000 for projects within a single state and $150,000 for projects that involve more than one state. There is no request limit for the Native American RBOG grants. It is recommended, however, that all applications show strong matching funds.
Last year, Ecotrust in Oregon received an RBOG grant to increase recruitment of producers and buyers in rural communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. It also used the grant to provide training and assistance for FoodHub, which is an online directory and marketplace designed to connect wholesale food buyers and sellers. The system will help agricultural producers tap into the consumer demand for food, help link food buyers and producers and shorten the supply chain between producers and wholesalers.
Applications for Rural Business Opportunity Grants are due August 1, 2011. The program notice, may be viewed in the July 1, 2011 Federal Register, page 38604 at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-07-01/html/2011-16555.htm.
For additional information, please contact the USDA Rural Development program specialist serving your area: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ORbcp.html.
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining, and thriving economically.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/OR_Home.html for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.