News Release
Release No.STELPRD4020964
ContactChris J. Kanazawa808-933-8302
Chester M. Cabral808-933-8318
Hilo, HI, May 24, 2013 --

    @@Rural Development Hawaii State Director, Chris Kanazawa 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.

    RBOG funds are available to eligible public bodies, private nonprofit corporations, federally recognized Indian Tribal groups, and cooperatives to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs. This is accomplished by making grants to organization for feasibility studies, strategic planning, leadership training, and other types of business development activities. Maximum grant is $100,000.

    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 RBOG program and other USDA business and cooperate development programs have had a significant impact on rural communities. In fall 2012, USDA Rural Development Hawaii State Office, awarded a $49,970 Rural Business Opportunity Grant to the University of Hawaii Maui College Food Innovation Center to improve the development of sustainable agriculture, ranching, and small businesses on Maui.

    Hawaii State Director, Chris Kanazawa stated "Building capacity and expanding skill sets in farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs are the fundamental building blocks necessary for successful businesses." USDA's RBOG funds are helping support one of Rural Development's Seven Strategies for Economic Development, Regional Food Systems, and the USDA-wide effort to carry out President Obama's commitment to strengthening local and regional food systems, Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative.

    The application deadline for Rural Business Opportunity Grants is June 24, 2013 for electronic applications submitted through and June 28, 2013 for all other requests. (Partnership reserved funds deadline does not pertain to Hawaii and Western Pacific. For additional information on how to apply, see the May 14 Federal Register, page 28184, or visit For additional information on how to apply, see the May 14 Federal Register, page 28184, or visit

    President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

    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.

    If interested in pursuing a RBOG grant, please contact the respective Business Programs Specialist by project location.

    Hawaii County (East) & Maui County

    Lori M. Nekoba, Business Programs Specialist

    154 Waianuenue Avenue, Room 311, Hilo, HI 96720

    (808) 933-8312; Fax (808) 933-8327

    Hawaii County (West) & Western Pacific

    Denise M. Oda, Business Programs Specialist

    154 Waianuenue Avenue, Room 311, Hilo, HI 96720

    (808) 933-8323; Fax (808) 933-8327

    Oahu, Kauai, & American Samoa

    Shirley M.U. Heatherly, Business Programs Specialist

    99-156 Aiea Heights Drive, Ste. 156, Aiea, HI 96701

    (808) 483-8600 Ext. 118; Fax (808) 483-8605

    Western Pacific

    Anthony C. Barcinas, Business Programs Specialist

    770 East Sunset Blvd., Ste. 280, Tiyan, GU 96913

    (671) 300-8567; Fax (671) 472-7366