Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA is offering grants to help organizations start cooperatives, expand existing ones or help develop business opportunities in rural areas. He says cooperative enterprises often lead economic growth and job creation in rural areas. Rural Cooperative Development Grants are being offered to non-profit corporations and institutions of higher education. The one-year grants of up to 175-thousand dollars can be used for feasibility studies, creation and implementation of business plans and to help businesses develop new markets for their products and services.
USDA is now accepting applications for these grants. The deadline for applications is August 6th and the grant period should begin no earlier than October 1st of this year and no later than January 1st of 2013. USDA may award up to 5.8-million dollars in grants. USDA is also offering nearly 2.37-million dollars in grants though the Rural Business Opportunity Grant. This program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities and regions with exceptional needs. Applications for these grants are also due August 6th. Those interested in either grant can contact a USDA Rural Development State Office for more information.