What does this program do?
The Rural Cooperative Development Grant program improves the economic condition of rural areas by helping individuals and businesses start, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses through Cooperative Development Centers. Grants are awarded through a national competition. Each fiscal year, applications are requested through a notice published in the Federal Register and through an announcement posted on grants.gov.
Program Funding: $5.8 million.
Maximum Grant Amount: $200,000.
Who may apply for this program?
Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for this program. Public bodies, for-profit business and individuals are NOT eligible.
What is the matching fund requirement?
Twenty-five (25) percent of total project costs (5 percent for Native American tribally-controlled colleges and universities that were granted land-grant status under an Act of Congress in 1994).
How may the funds be used?
Grant and matching funds can be used for developing and operating a Rural Cooperative Development Center. Examples of technical assistance and other services the Centers provide are:
- Conducting feasibility studies.
- Developing business plans.
- Providing leadership and operational improvement training.
- Facilitating strategic planning.
A Center can be located in any area, but the individuals and business assisted must be located in an eligible rural area.
How do we get started?
Before you apply:
- Request a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number if your organization doesn’t already have one. You should plan on requesting it at least a month before the application deadline because you’ll need that number for the next pre-application step (see below).
- Register your organization with the System for Award Management (SAM) if you aren’t already registered. The registration is free. You need to complete several steps. It’s a good idea to start the registration process at least a month before any application deadline. Before you start the registration process, we suggest reading through the HELP materials available on the SAM website. Then, you’ll need to create an account. After you create your account by setting up a user ID and password, you can register your organization. Remember, you’ll need your DUNS number to complete your registration. Also, make a note of your Commercial And Government Entity (CAGE) code and expiration date because you’ll need those for your application.
Forms & Resources:
Select the 'To Apply' tab to access program forms and resource information.
Who can answer questions?
If you have questions, you can contact your nearest Rural Development office.
Will I need to send any reports if I receive a grant?
Yes, if you receive a grant, you will need to send regular financial and performance reports. Your grant agreement will tell you how often you need to send the reports, what forms you need to use and what information you need to put in the reports.
Where can I get more information about the program?
Please read the Federal Register Notice for important information needed before applying for the grant. You can find the Rural Cooperative Development Grants program regulations here.
What law governs this program?
Regulation: 7 USC 1932 (310)(B)(e)
NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change, please always consult the program instructions listed in the section above titled “What law governs this program?” You may also contact your local office for assistance.
Below are the required forms used to apply for this program. Please use Adobe Reader to fill in the required information on each form:
- FY 21 RCDG Application Template | DOC | PDF
- FY 21 RCDG Application Checklist | DOC | PDF
- FY 21 RCDG Application Cash Match Verification Template DOC | PDF
- FY 21 RCDG Applicant In Kind Match Verification Template DOC | PDF
- FY 21 RCDG Third-Party In Kind Match Verification Template DOC | PDF
- FY 21 RCDG Third-Party Cash Match Verification Template DOC | PDF
NOTE: If state-specific forms are not shown above, please refer to the application materials listed below to start the process of applying. Please ensure that your state is selected in the dropdown menu above to find the State Office contact information for this program and speak to a Business Programs Specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in the process.
Please read the Federal Register notice for the details on what is needed for an application. Make sure you begin gathering the required information at least one month before the application deadline because you may need to provide letters of commitment or support from other organizations, a work plan and budget, and other information that will take you some time to research or write. You may also need to complete required forms. You can get copies of those forms from your nearest Rural Development office.
There are no other additional requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements they will be listed above.
State tab for program contacts
A virtual Listening Session will be held on September 16, 2021, from 2-4 pm Eastern Time. To view the details for the Listening Session, including how to register, please view the Federal Register Notice. Please contact Natalie.Melton@usda.gov for additional information. | Register.
A Request for Information has also been opened. Comments are due by September 16, 2021, through www.regulations.gov. To view the details about the questions that we have asked for feedback on as well as the process to submit comments, please view the Federal Register Notice.