The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to help start, expand, or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses in rural areas.
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.
These 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 cooperatives.
Those who were awarded Rural Cooperative Development Grants during the federal fiscal year (FY) 2019 and who received a grant period extension due to a loss of operations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are eligible to apply for FY 2020 funding.
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.
The grants are awarded through a competitive process. Electronic applications must be submitted to grants.gov by 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time on August 3, 2020.
To discuss a potential application or to learn more about the application process, contact Eben Fisher, Business and Cooperative Programs Specialist, (541) 278-8049 ext. 129. Additional information is available on page 39870 of the July 2, 2020, Federal Register.