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USDA seeks input on helping businesses start, expand, improve rural co-ops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking input on ways to make it easier for nonprofit groups and other organizations to help businesses form cooperatives.

The agency is seeking recommendations to streamline application requirements and make other improvements to the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program, said Luis R. García, USDA Rural Development acting state director for Puerto Rico.

This program helps Cooperative Development Centers deliver programs to assist individuals and businesses to start, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually owned businesses, the agency stated.

For example, the USDA is seeking comments on topics including:

  • How it should evaluate what constitutes an applicant’s proven track record of providing development assistance;
  • How many years of experience are appropriate to show that an applicant has experience providing cooperative development technical assistance in rural areas;
  • What criteria USDA should use to document and measure the effectiveness of an applicant’s rural economic development efforts; and,
  • What criteria or factors USDA should focus on in determining eligibility for an applicant who seeks funding for a multi-year award.

USDA will hold a virtual listening session on these topics on Sept. 16 at 2 p.m. Interested parties may register here.

Written comments on proposed changes to the RCDG program must be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking website by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 25.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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