USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service offers programs to support business development and job training opportunities for rural residents.

Our programs help provide the capital, technical support, educational opportunities and entrepreneurial skills that can help rural residents start and grow businesses or access jobs in agricultural markets and in the bio-based economy. USDA and our public and private partners are connecting rural residents to the global economy by:

  1. Supporting business growth and development;
  2. Facilitating sustainable renewable energy development;
  3. Developing regional food systems;
  4. Generating and retaining jobs through recreation and natural resource restoration, conservation, and management;
  5. Increasing access to broadband;

These investments support the nation’s long-term prosperity by ensuring that rural communities are self-sustaining, repopulating and thriving economically.

On behalf of Administrator Lillian Salerno, we welcome you to browse through this site for information about programs and services to help you and your community enhance business development. Thank you for visiting.

Business Programs

Through its Business Programs, Rural Development helps provide much-needed capital in rural areas, often in partnership with private-sector lenders and community-based organizations. The capital may be in the form of loan guarantees, direct loans or grants to individuals, rural businesses, cooperatives, farmers and ranchers, public bodies, non-profit corporations, Native American Tribes and private companies. The funding is intended to help improve the quality of life in rural communities by enhancing economic opportunities.

Cooperative Programs

USDA’s Cooperative Programs promote the understanding and use of the cooperative form of business. Cooperatives market and distribute agricultural products and supplies and provide other services such as electricity, telecommunications, credit and financial services, housing, food, hardware and building supplies.

USDA Rural Development helps rural residents form new cooperatives and improve the operations of existing ones through education, research, technical assistance, publications and funding. We collect financial and other data from farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives every year. This data is published in several reports, including a listing of almost 1,500 marketing, supply, service, fishery and bargaining cooperatives.

Community Development Programs

USDA’s Community Development Programs include programs, technical assistance and initiatives that help communities and regions to realize their strategic, long-term economic development goals.