In conjunction with Co-op Month, USDA Rural Development State Director Glenda Humiston congratulated Southern California Focus on Cooperation (SCFC) on their recent selection for two grant awards to help support co-ops.
"Co-op Month is a great time each year to highlight the important role of America's co-ops to rural communities and businesses," said Humiston. "Working with Southern California Focus on Cooperation, a wide variety of co-op members are getting the tools they need to succeed, and we are pleased to help them continue this work."
SCFC received a $200,000 grant through the Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program, which offers technical assistance to help producers develop new markets and grow their operations. The grant will be used to provide technical assistance and cooperative education to 95 refugee and immigrant farmers in California, Arizona and Utah.
Additionally, they were awarded a $55,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to support training, outreach, and development at Green Broom Brigade Cooperative, a new worker cooperative in Lompoc, Calif. These funds will also be used to help develop a new center for cooperative development.
Cooperatives operate throughout California and across all sectors of the state's economy. California cooperative members serve a combined constituency of more than 1.5 million people. In the United States there are more than 29,000 cooperatives which generate 2 million jobs, and contribute to the economy with annual sales of $652 billion and assets of $3 trillion.
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.