Temple, Texas, Apr 30, 2014 -- USDA Rural Development Texas State Director Paco Valentin today announced that USDA is seeking applications from cooperatives to provide technical assistance to small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. Funding will be made available through USDA Rural Development’s Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program (SSDPG). The maximum grant award is $200,000.
“One of USDA Rural Development’s missions is to provide assistance that will increase the economic conditions of rural communities,” said State Director Valentin. “These grants allow eligible applicants to provide technical assistance to small, socially disadvantaged agriculture producers in rural areas and in turn, promote job creation and improve their operations.”
Eligible applicants include cooperatives, groups of cooperatives, and cooperative development centers where a majority of the governing board or board of directors is comprised of individuals who are members of socially disadvantaged groups. Small, socially disadvantaged producers include farmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural harvesters, and fishermen that have averaged $250,000 or less in annual gross sales of agricultural products in the last three years and are members of a socially-disadvantaged group. In the event that there are multiple owners, the Agency requires that at least 51 percent of the ownership be held by members of a socially-disadvantaged group. Producers will be able to benefit from the grants through market research, product and/or service improvement, legal advice and assistance, feasibility studies and business plans or marketing plan developments, and training.
The application deadline for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grants is June 30, 2014 for paper applications and June 24, 2014 for electronic applications. For additional information on how to apply, see the April 30 Federal Register, page 24387, or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html.
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.