April 29, 2014
On April 29, 2014 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of competitive grant funds to support the development of rural cooperatives. A total of $5.8 million is available this year for the Rural Coop Development Grant (RCDG) program and an additional $3 million will be available for Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants, a subset of the RCDG program. The notices of funding availability will appear in the Federal Register on April 30.
Rural Coop Development Grants
Grants are available for non-profit corporations or higher education institutions for the purpose of establishing or enhancing centers for training in cooperative development. Each applicant can apply for up to $200,000, and in most cases matching funds are required for twenty-five percent of the total amount requested. Grant funds may be used to pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing and operating centers for rural cooperative development, or 95 percent in the case of tribal land grant institutions. The grant term is one year.
Applications that support rural areas with at least 20 percent of the population at poverty level are particularly encouraged.
Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants
Additionally, $3 million is available in competitive grant funds for the Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants (SSDPG) program. For this subset of RCDG grants, eligible applicants include cooperatives and groups of cooperatives as well as cooperative development centers who will provide technical assistance to small, socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. The maximum award amount is $200,000, and no matching funds are required.
For both the main stem RCDG proposals as well as SSDPG proposals, electronic applications are due June 26, 2014, and hard-copy applications are due June 30,2014. Electronic submissions must be completed at grants.gov. For mailed applications, a list of USDA state offices can be found here.
More information for RCDG can be found on this USDA webpage and for SSDPG on this USDA site.