USDA is accepting applications for grants to help promote sustainable economic development and job creation in rural communities, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday.
"Cooperative enterprises often lead economic growth and job creation in rural areas," Vilsack said. "USDA is offering grants to help organizations start cooperatives, expand existing ones or help develop business opportunities in rural areas."
USDA is offering Rural Cooperative Development Grants to non-profit corporations and institutions of higher education. The grants also may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services.
One-year grants up to $175,000 are available. In most cases, grants may be used to pay for up to 75% of the cost of establishing and operating rural cooperative development centers. Recipients are required to match 25% of the award amount.
Through this notice, USDA may award up to $5.8 million in grants. The deadline for RCDG applications is August 6, 2012. For additional information, see the June 7, 2012 Federal Register or contact the USDA Rural Development state office.
In addition, USDA is offering almost $2.37 million in grants through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Opportunity Grant. The program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities and regions with exceptional needs.
The RBOG program provides training and technical assistance grants for business development and assists with economic development planning. Funding is available to rural public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Native American tribes and cooperatives with primarily rural members that conduct activities for the mutual benefit of the membership.
Applications for Rural Business Opportunity Grants are due August 6, 2012. Application instructions may be obtained from the June 7, 2012 Federal Register, or by contacting a USDA Rural Development State Office.