WASHINGTON, Nov 20, 2013 -- Contact:
Weldon Freeman (202) 690-1384
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Economic Development Funding To Strengthen Businesses and Create Jobs in Rural Communities
Michigan State University Receives $200,000 to Help Cooperatives
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 34 organizations for grants 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.”
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.
Today’s announcement includes several recipients who are developing new market opportunities for rural farmers and ranchers by capitalizing on consumer interest in locally-produced food.
For example, Michigan State University is receiving a $200,000 grant to provide educational and business development services to cooperatives.
Vilsack announced more than $6 million in grants for today’s list of recipients. Funding for each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
Vilsack noted that today’s announcement is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. He said a comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy and added that’s just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
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