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USDA Seeks Applications for Technical Assistance Grants to Help Socially-Disadvantaged Ag Producers and Rural Business Owners

Erin McDuff
Release Date

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to support technical assistance for socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers and rural business owners.

Up to $3 million will be awarded nationwide this year through USDA's Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) Program to help small businesses retain and create jobs in rural areas. The maximum amount an individual applicant may receive is $175,000.

The grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals. Instead, qualified organizations receiving these grants will provide technical assistance and training to socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers or rural businesses. The technical assistance may include leadership training and support developing feasibility studies, business plans, and strategic plans.

Cooperatives, groups of cooperatives, and cooperative development centers that serve socially-disadvantaged groups are eligible to apply. Applicants may be based in any area, but the groups they serve must be located in eligible 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.

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 Eben Fisher, Business and Cooperative Programs Sstaff member at (541) 278-8049 x129. You can also find additional information on page 13877 of the April 8, 2019, Federal Register.

Questions related to USDA Business 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.