Agricultural Under Secretary Lisa Mensah announced Monday that $5.8 million nationwide in competitive funding is available to help start, improve or expand cooperative businesses in rural areas.
“Cooperatives have long been a key resource for small and midsized producers working together to access new markets or to market value added products,” said Mensah. “This funding helps them continue their crucial role supporting farmers and other businesses that create jobs, provide services and improve the quality of life in rural America.”
José Otero-García, USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico said that the Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG) provides funding to non-profit cooperative develop centers and institutions of higher learning. Grants may be awarded for up to $200,000 and matching funds are required equal to 25 percent of the total project cost.
Examples of work that the centers can do are: Conducting feasibility studies, developing business plans, providing leadership and operational improvement training, and facilitating strategic planning.
The first round of applications is June 20, 2016.