Davis, CA, Oct 26, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 36 organizations in 26 states and the District of Columbia for grants to help rural cooperatives and small businesses expand, create jobs and strengthen their capacity to serve rural citizens and communities.
"These grants help cooperatives support local projects and initiatives that create jobs and improve rural economic conditions," Vilsack said. "As we celebrate National Cooperative Month, USDA is proud to continue its support of local and regional efforts to bolster these cooperatives and help them bring increased value and economic opportunity to rural residents."
The grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Cooperative Development Grant program. Under this program, grants of up to $225,000 may be awarded to colleges, universities and non-profit groups to create and operate centers that help individuals or groups establish, expand or operate rural businesses, especially cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses. Grants may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services.
Locally, the California Center for Cooperative Development (CCCD) has been selected to receive a $225,000 grant to help improve economic conditions of targeted rural areas in the state. Efforts will focus on strengthening existing cooperatives through education, as well as providing development support for two consumer food cooperatives, a marketing cooperative for farmers, a forestry cooperative, and improve opportunities for the development of housing cooperatives.
Vilsack announced more than $7.9 million in economic development loans and grants today. A complete list of projects that were selected for funding is here. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
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 active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable 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/ca for additional information or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).