USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Socially-Disadvantaged Rural Residents

Sunday, June 7, 2015

COLUMBIA, MO -- Missouri Rural Development State Director Janie Dunning has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications to provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Funding will be made available through USDA's Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program (formerly the Small, Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant Program).

"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," Vilsack said. "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."

The Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program assists organizations that provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Examples of technical assistance are conducting feasibility studies, developing business and strategic plans, and providing leadership training.

"Missouri's rural areas are home to some varied and distinct populations. Some of these populations, as a result of cultural or language barriers, experience difficulties in creating and sustaining businesses, Ms. Dunning said. "The Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program is in place to alleviate the difficulties faced by individuals who want to engage in the economic life of rural areas. Assisting disadvantaged rural residents succeed is crucial to the strength and vitality of communities."

USDA plans to make up to $3 million in grants available. The maximum award under this notice is $175,000. More information on how to apply can be found on page 28937 of the May 20 Federal Register. Applications submitted by mail must be postmarked by July 20, 2015. Electronic applications must be submitted at no later than midnight Eastern Time July 14, 2015.

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.

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