November 21, 2013
Continuing a busy week of announcements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on grant awards that are building rural economies and local food production and markets, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more than $6 million in grants to 34 organizations from 24 states through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program.
Established in the 1996 Farm Bill, RCDG is a competitive grant program that funds non-profit organizations and higher education institutions to create and operate coop development centers that help establish, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned rural businesses through technical assistance and training.
Today’s announcement includes several recipients who are supporting local food marketing and other ways to expand economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers.
Among them, are:
Several other food system examples are provided in the USDA press release. The RCDG program is one of several USDA Rural Development programs that help generate new marketing opportunities for American farmers and ranchers, create jobs in local food production, processing, and distribution, serve growing consumer demand for locally-produced products, and strengthen rural economies and communities. NSAC’s Guide to Federal Funding for Local and Regional Food Systems has additional information on the full range of USDA programs.
The majority of the new RCDG awards are for cooperative development activities outside of the food and agriculture arena. All of the centers operated by all the RCDG grantees will provide technical assistance to rural cooperatives and other rural businesses on feasibility studies, business planning, and other tools that help businesses become or remain viable.
A complete list of recipients is available here.