Temple, Texas, Nov 20, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 34 organizations for grants totaling more than $6 million 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 projects and initiatives that create jobs and improve rural economic conditions,” Vilsack said. “USDA funding helps provide the expertise and capacity-building resources that cooperatives rely on to succeed in carrying out their missions.”
Today’s announcement includes almost $200,000 to assist the Texas Rural Cooperative Center, operated by University of Texas-Pan American provide technical assistance and training to local cooperatives. The technical assistance these centers provide will help generate new opportunities for American farmers and ranchers, create jobs in local food processing and distribution industries, and serve growing consumer demand for locally-produced products.
“USDA Rural Development’s mission is to provide assistance that will increase the economic conditions of rural communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director. “By providing grants like this one for UT Pan- American, we increase the technical and educational assistance available to rural cooperatives and other business entities.”
Funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program. The grants are being awarded to non-profit groups and higher education institutions to create and operate centers that help establish, expand or operate rural businesses, especially cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses. These competitively awarded grants may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services. Since fiscal year 2009, the RCDG program has awarded 166 grants for approximately $33 million and has helped nearly 3,000 businesses.
USDA Rural Development strives to see that rural citizens can participate fully in the
global economy by providing technical assistance, funding, and other programs that help rural Americans build strong economies to improve their quality of life. For further information regarding USDA Rural Development Programs, visit our website at http://rurdev.usda.gov/tx.