USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service offers programs to help businesses grow as well as job training for people living in rural areas.

Our programs help provide the capital, training, education and entrepreneurial skills that can help those living in rural areas start and grow businesses or find 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. Assisting with creating wealth and supporting rural America.
  3. Improving the effectiveness of programs serving cooperatives
  4. Creating and keeping jobs through recreation as well as restoring, conserving and managing rural America’s natural resources.
  5. Bringing fast internet to more homes and businesses.

These investments support America’s long-term prosperity by ensuring that our rural communities are able to take care of themselves, grow and prosper.

Please browse through this site for information about programs and services to help you and your community create and grow local businesses. Thank you for visiting.

Business Programs

Through its Business Programs, Rural Development helps provide much needed money in rural areas, often in partnership with private-sector lenders and community-based organizations. The money may be in the form of a loan guarantee, a direct loan or grants to individuals, businesses, cooperatives, farmers and ranchers, public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Native American tribes and private companies. The funding is given to help improve the quality of life in rural communities by creating economic growth.

Cooperative Programs

USDA’s Cooperative Programs promote the use of the cooperative form of business. These cooperatives ship agricultural products and supplies and provide other services such as electricity, broadband connectivity, phone, internet, banking 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, training, publications and funding. We collect financial information and other data  from farmers, ranchers 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 Economic Development

USDA’s Community Development Programs include programs, technical help and that help rural cities and areas to realize their strategic, long-term economic development goals.

Energy Programs

Our energy program grants and loans help finance the cost of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements for rural small businesses and agricultural producers through funding projects that:

  • Install energy efficient lighting.
  • Upgrade refrigeration systems.
  • Improve insulation, duct work, windows and other building upgrades.
  • Lower heating and cooling costs with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades.
  • Install solar panels or wind turbines.
  • Purchase anaerobic digesters.
  • Establish other renewable energy systems including geothermal or hydropower.
  • Convert biomass to energy.

The grants may cover up to 25 percent of a project’s eligible costs and we may guarantee up to 85 percent of a commercial loan.