News Release
Release No.STELPRD4020596
ContactJames Pendleton(406) 585-2587
Washington, DC, May 14, 2013 --

@@Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications from organizations that will provide technical assistance to rural businesses. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

"These grants will help businesses get access to planning, mentoring and other services that can help ensure their success," Vilsack said. "This assistance will provide development and managerial services that often are not readily available to businesses in rural areas."

Funding will be provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) program. Up to $2.6 million is available through this notice. The maximum grant is $100,000.

Grants may be used for feasibility studies, strategic planning, leadership training and other types of business development activities. Eligible applicants include public bodies, non-profit corporations, institutions of higher education, Indian tribes and rural cooperatives. In 2012, the Crow Tribe of Montana received a $50,000 grant to develop an economic development strategic plan for the Crow Reservation.

USDA Rural Development is further interested in RBOG applications to support a new Obama administration initiative called Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). This initiative is intended to stimulate an environment for developing manufacturing jobs. RBOG applicants, for example, could seek grants to help rural communities develop long-term strategic plans for their manufacturing sectors or to provide training to entrepreneurs who want to create manufacturing businesses in rural areas. Applicants who receive RBOG funding complementing the IMCP initiative may later be eligible for much larger grants directly through the initiative.

Some of the funding available under this RBOG notice will be made available for projects benefitting federally recognized Indian tribes and projects benefitting Rural Economic Area Partnerships. The remaining funds are open for national competition.

The application deadlines for Rural Business Opportunity Grants are June 30 for partnership funds and June 28 for all other requests. For additional information on how to apply, see the May 14 Federal Register, page 28184.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.