USDA opens call for $28M in grants for rural businesses

Written by  //  March 31, 2015  //  Agriculture  //  No comments

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José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday the availability of $28 million for grants to support rural businesses to help create jobs across the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.

“This USDA funding will ensure continued investments in rural businesses,” Agriculture Under Secretary Lisa Mensah said. “Too often, rural businesses and the communities they serve lack access to the capital and resources they need to grow and thrive. These grants will help remedy that and allow all Americans the chance to share in the nation’s economic recovery.”

José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico, said the funding is expected to be available under the Rural Business Development Grant program.

“Eligible applicants include public bodies, government entities and non-profit organizations,” he said.

Congress established the RBDG program under the 2014 Farm Bill combining USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant and the Rural Business Opportunity Grant program. The new program, like its predecessors, is designed to assist the startup or expansion of small and emerging private businesses and/or nonprofits in rural communities, the agency said.

An RBDG grant can be used to acquire or develop land, buildings, plants and equipment; build or improve access roads, parking areas, utility extensions, and water and waste disposal facilities; provide technical assistance; establish revolving loan funds; and to support rural distance learning programs that provide educational or job training.

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