The Roundup -

USDA Announces $5.8 Million to Support Rural Cooperatives


Agriculture Under Secretary Lisa Mensah has awarded 30 grants totaling $5.8 million to help rural cooperatives create jobs and support business expansion. The funds are being provided through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, which helps fund non-profit groups, such as rural cooperative development centers and higher education institutions. “The cooperative business model has been very successful in improving the economies of our rural communities,” Mensah said. “As we celebrate October as National Cooperative Month, we are pleased to bring a spotlight to these worthy groups.”

Development Centers can use RCDG funds for feasibility studies, strategic planning, leadership and operations training, and business plan development. As part of this grant program, recipients are required to contribute matching funds that equal 25 percent of total project costs.

Projects in 22 states are receiving RCDG funding. For example, the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) in Great Falls, Montana, received $200,000 in grant funds to provide technical assistance and training to 25 cooperatives. MCDC works with groups throughout the state to develop innovative cooperative business models in retail, fitness, manufacturing, agriculture, marketing, housing, transportation, tourism and GEO tourism.

USDA has funded 230 cooperative grants for $44.4 million to support projects in 39 states since 2009. This funding has benefited more than 2,600 businesses. Through this announcement, USDA is providing grants for 30 projects in 22 states. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their grant agreement.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service has helped 85,000 rural businesses create jobs and economic opportunity.

President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way and strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.


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