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USDA is Seeking Applications to Strengthen Rural Cooperatives

Erin McDuff
Release Date

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to help start, expand, or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses in rural areas.

Up to $5.8 million will be awarded nationwide this year through USDA's Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program. The maximum amount an individual applicant may receive is $200,000. Grant recipients must provide matching funds equal to 25 percent of the total project costs.

These grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals. Instead, nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education receiving these grants will provide assistance to individuals and businesses with the development or expansion of rural cooperatives. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis through a national competition.

The grants and matching funds must be used to operate a Rural Cooperative Development Center that can provide services such as conducting feasibility studies, developing business plans, facilitating strategic development, and providing leadership training. While these centers may be located in any location, the individuals and businesses assisted must be located in eligible rural areas.

Electronic applications must be submitted through grants.gov by 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time on August 10, 2021.

To discuss a potential application or to learn more about the application process, contact Mandie Cole, Business and Cooperative Programs Director, (541) 378-3538. Additional information is also available on page 31266 of the June 11, 2021, Federal Register.