USDA Grants Available for Rural Community Economic Development

Vicki Schurman
Release Date
May 19, 2015

Agriculture Under Secretary Lisa Mensah has announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants to support rural community economic development.

“This funding from USDA will ensure that technical and financial assistance is available for those who wish to improve the quality of life in rural communities,” Mensah said. “Very often, great visions for better rural communities exist, but the next steps toward positive change are unclear. These grants will help rural communities build a path to community economic development so rural America can share in the nation’s economic recovery."

In 2011, the RCDI grant program funded a three year project for three Nebraska regional partners to build capacity in a three county area of Central Nebraska.  More than 600 Nebraskans registered for one or more trainings/workshops offered as a result of the funding from the RCDI grant program.  This effort encouraged entrepreneurship by hosting events such as community tours, presentations, vision building and an opportunity for networking.

Approximately $10.4 million is being made available under the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program. Eligible applicants include public, private, and non-profit intermediaries, and federally recognized tribes.

RCDI grants can be used to provide training or technical assistance. Training may focus on homeownership education, minority business entrepreneurship, strategic community planning or accessing alternative funding sources. Intermediary organizations must provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant. Grants range from $50,000 to $250,000.

For information on how to apply contact your Rural Development state office or see Page 27887 of the 5/15 Federal Register. Applications must be submitted by August 13, 2015.

In Nebraska contact Mary Sneckenberg at (402) 437-5567 or with questions on the RCDI program.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.