The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to improve the rural economy by helping individuals and businesses start, expand, or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses.
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.
Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply. The grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals. Instead, qualified organizations receiving these grants will provide assistance to individuals and businesses with the development or expansion of a cooperative.
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 are due by July 24, 2018, while paper applications are due by July 30, 2018. In Oregon, applications should be submitted to the USDA Rural Development State Office:
USDA Rural Development
ATTN: Business and Cooperative Programs
1220 SW 3rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97204
To discuss a potential application or to learn more about the application process, contact a Business and Cooperative Programs staff member at (541) 278-8049 x129. You can also find additional information on page 24726 of the May 30, 2018, Federal Register.