HILO, Hawaii, Oct 22, 2012 -- Chris J. Kanazawa, State Director for USDA Rural Development, announced the selection of the Kohala Center, Inc., to receive a $128,471 Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant (SSDPG).
"The Small Socially Disadvantaged Producers Grant offers funding to enable capacity building in operators of small agriculture and business enterprises in rural communities of Hawaii," Kanazawa stated. "The funding provided to The Kohala Center will enhance the outreach to farmers, ranchers and businesses that have a true need for the training and technical assistance."
The SSDPG will allow The Kohala Center to assist approximately 240 socially disadvantaged producers within four Cooperative groups (Ku I Ka Mana Agricultural Cooperative, Molokai Livestock Cooperative, Hawaiian Tea Cooperative, and the Kau Agricultural Water Cooperative). The program will provide technical assistance training in agricultural production and processing, agricultural business development and marketing, farm-based energy systems design, food safety certification, rangeland management, cooperative membership training, and financial capacity building.
"The Laulima Center is honored to receive the SSDPG funding from the USDA to provide needed training to the producer-members of these four cooperatives", said Melanie Bondera, The Kohala Center's Rural Cooperative Development Specialist. "These specialized trainings will help increase the economic viability of their agricultural businesses."
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 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.
USDA Rural Development is an Equal Opportunity Lender, Provider, and Employer. Complaints of discrimination should be sent to: USDA, DIRECTOR, Office of Civil Rights, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410.