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USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Support Rural Cooperatives

Erin McDuff
Release Date

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.

The 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 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.

Grants are awarded through a competitive process. Electronic applications must be submitted to grants.gov by 9:00 p.m. PST on June 3, 2019. Paper applications must be postmarked and shipped overnight by June 7, 2019. 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
          Suite 1801
          Portland, OR 97204

To discuss a potential application or to learn more about the application process, contact Mandie Cole, Business and Cooperatives Program Specialist, (541) 378-3538. You can also find additional information on page 13868 of the April 8, 2019, Federal Register.

Questions related to USDA Business and Cooperative Programs in Oregon may be directed to a local Business and Cooperative Specialist. Those with project proposals outside of Oregon should contact USDA Rural Development in the corresponding state.