USDA Seeks Applications to Support Rural Businesses and Create Jobs

Jay Fletcher
Release Date
Mar 30, 2015

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

"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.

RBDG funds can be used for technical assistance, establishment of small business revolving loan funds and the acquisition of land, buildings, and infrastructure to enhance business development.  In addition funds can be used to support business incubators, feasibility studies and business plans, long-term strategic business planning, leadership and entrepreneurial training.

Pre-applications for competition for the Nebraska allocated funds are due by close of business, 4:30 pm CT, Friday, May 1, 2015. All pre-applications are to be sent by email to the following address:

USDA Rural Development
Attn: Diane Pavel
4009 6th Ave., Suite 1
Kearney, NE  68845-2386

For additional information on the RBDG program, see the March 25 Federal Register.

To discuss applicant or project eligibility please contact one of the following Business Program Specialists.

* Marla Marx, or 308-632-2195 extension 1132 – panhandle and southwest counties

* Kelley Messenger, or 308-237-3118 extension 1120 – north and south central counties

* Bill Sheppard,  or 402-371-5350 extension 1004 – northeast and southeast counties

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.

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.