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USDA Grants Available To Aid Rural Disadvantaged Groups

WASHINGTON, D.C.

The USDA will award up to $3 million in grants to groups that will provide technical assistance to disadvantaged groups in a rural area.

You can apply for a maximum award of $175,000 by July 20 for projects such as feasibility studies, developing business and strategic plans, and providing leadership training. The deadline to submit an electronic application is July 14, midnight, Eastern Standard Time.

“These grants will help socially-disadvantaged business owners develop the tools and skills they need to grow their enterprises and succeed at creating jobs and expanding economic opportunities in rural areas,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a recent statement.

“American agriculture is becoming increasingly diverse in many ways, with more minorities and women seeking to enter the field, as well as greater diversity in the age of farmers, the size of operations, in production methods, and in the types of crops being grown. All of these forms of diversity help strengthen U.S. agriculture for the future,” Vilsack said.

Funding will be made available through USDA’s Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program (formerly the Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant Program), which assists organizations that provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas.

Grant guidelines are included on page 28937 of the May 20 Federal Register and can be submitted to grants.gov.

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Eligible applicants include groups of cooperatives, cooperative development centers and individual cooperatives that serve socially-disadvantaged groups. The cooperatives or centers can be located in any area, but the groups assisted must be located in an eligible rural area.

Also the majority of the governing body of the organization must be compromised of individuals who are members of socially-disadvantaged groups.

USDA Rural Development is encouraging applications for projects in census tracts with poverty rates of 20 percent or higher. All grants are awarded through a national competition.

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