WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting grant applications to assist small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers and cooperatives in rural areas.
“Helping small agricultural producers better market their products creates economic opportunity and these grants will help small business owners add profit and efficiency to their operations so they can grow and create jobs,” Vilsack said.
Approximately $3.5 million in grants are available with funding is being awarded through USDA Rural Development’s Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant Program, which was authorized by Congress in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. It is part of the Department’s ongoing effort to expand outreach to rural residents to ensure that all communities have equal access to USDA programs and services. Cooperatives or associations of cooperatives are eligible to apply where at least 75 percent of the governing board or membership has annual gross agricultural product sales of $250,000 or less in the last three years. Grants can be used for product improvements, business plan development or economic development activities.
Applications for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grants are due July 27. Application materials may be obtained at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/ssdpg/ssdpg.htm or by contacting Area Specialist Mary Warren in the Illinois State Office at (217) 403-6218. For additional information, see the April 28 Federal Register, page 22358, http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-9820.pdf.
USDA Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees in 500 offices at the national, state and local level. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers, and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $134 billion in loans and loan guarantees. More information on USDA Rural Development is available on the web at www.rurdev.usda.gov/il.
Originally published at ReviewAtlas.com.