WASHINGTON, June 12, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to help promote sustainable economic development and job creation in rural communities.
"Cooperative enterprises often lead economic growth and job creation in rural areas," Vilsack said. "USDA is offering grants to help organizations start cooperatives, expand existing ones or help develop business opportunities in rural areas."
USDA is offering Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG) to non-profit corporations and institutions of higher education. The grants also may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services.
One-year grants up to $175,000 are available. In most cases, grants may be used to pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing and operating rural cooperative development centers. Recipients are required to match 25 percent of the award amount. The grant period should begin no earlier than October 1, 2012, and no later than January 1, 2013. Through this notice, USDA may award up to $5.8 million in grants. The deadline for RCDG applications is August 6, 2012. For additional information, see the June 7, 2012 Federal Register or contact the Utah Rural Development State Office at (801) 524-4324.
In addition, USDA is offering almost $2.37 million in grants through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG. The program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities and regions with exceptional needs.
The RBOG program provides training and technical assistance grants for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and assists with economic development planning. Funding is available to rural public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Native American tribes and cooperatives with primarily rural members that conduct activities for the mutual benefit of the membership.
Applications for Rural Business Opportunity Grants are due August 6, 2012. Application instructions may be obtained from the June 7, 2012 Federal Register, or by contacting the Utah rural Development State Office.
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 $165 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 areas.