USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to help socially disadvantaged agricultural producers and rural business owners.
“The cooperative business model is a growing trend in Montana,” said Janelle Gustafson, Acting State Director for Rural Development. “These grants give socially disadvantaged groups an opportunity to prosper in cooperative environments.”
USDA is awarding up to $3 million in grants through the Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant program to help small businesses retain and create jobs in rural areas. USDA defines a socially disadvantaged group as one whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity without regard to their individual qualities.
Eligible grant recipients include cooperatives, groups of cooperatives and cooperative development centers that serve socially disadvantaged groups. Examples of technical assistance include leadership training, and support to develop feasibility studies, business plans and strategic plans. Recipients can be based in any area, but the businesses or organizations they serve must be in an eligible rural area.
For information on how to apply for these grants, see page 26426 of the June 7 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is August 1, 2017. Electronic applications submitted through grants.gov are due July 25, 2017. For additional information and assistance, contact Brent Donnelly, Montana Rural Development Business & Cooperative Program Director, at (406) 585-2540.