USDA Seeks Applications to Support Rural Businesses and Create Jobs

Marie Ferris
Release Date
Mar 27, 2015

Agriculture Under Secretary Lisa Mensah today announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants to support rural businesses and help create jobs across Vermont.

“This USDA funding will ensure continued investments in rural businesses,” Mensah said. “Too often, rural businesses and the communities they serve lack access to the capital and resources they need to grow and thrive. These grants will help remedy that and allow all Americans the chance to share in the nation’s economic recovery.”

More than $28 million is expected to be available under the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program. Eligible applicants include public bodies, government entities, Indian tribes and non-profit organizations.

Applications are due to the Vermont USDA Rural Development State Office by Friday, May 1st, to compete for Vermont’s approximately $150,000 share of national RBDG funding. Applications that complete job creating activities in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, comprised of Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties, will compete for approximately $750,000 of the Rural Economic Area Partnership Zone RBDG set aside.

Congress established the RBDG program under the 2014 Farm Bill by combining USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) programs. The new program, like its predecessors, is designed to assist the startup or expansion of small and emerging private businesses and/or non-profits in rural communities.

RBDG grants can be used to acquire or develop land, buildings, plants and equipment; build or improve access roads, parking areas, utility extensions, and water and waste disposal facilities; provide technical assistance; establish revolving loan funds; and to support rural distance learning programs that provide educational or job training. There are no substantive programmatic or operational changes to the RBEG and RBOG programs as a result of this consolidation.

Grants made before the implementation of the RBDG program will continue to be governed by the terms of the applicable RBOG and RBEG regulations in effect at the time the grants were made.

For additional information on how to apply, visit or contact Susan Poland at (802) 828-6002 or  Additional program information can be found on Page 15665 of the March 25 Federal Register.

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.