USDA Seeks Grant Applications to Provide Development Support to Rural Cooperatives

March 31, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that $5.8 million in competitive funding is available nationwide to help start, improve or expand cooperative businesses in rural areas.

“Cooperatives have long been a key resource for small and midsized producers working together to access new markets or to market value added products,” said Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah. “This funding helps them continue their crucial role supporting farmers and other businesses that create jobs, provide services and improve the quality of life in rural America.”

“USDA Rural Development’s mission is to provide assistance that will increase the economic conditions of rural communities,” said Texas State Director Paco Valentin.  “These funds will promote start up, expansion and operational improvements as cooperatives work to grow and strengthen their businesses and provide sustainable, well-paying jobs to rural residents.”

The Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program provides funding to non-profit cooperative develop centers and institutions of higher learning. Grants may be awarded for up to $200,000 and matching funds are required equal to 25 percent of the total project cost. 

For information on how to apply for RCDG grants, contact the USDA Rural Development Texas State Office at 254-742-9780 or see page 16127 of the March 25 Federal Register ( The first round of applications is due June 20, 2016.

For information on this and other USDA Rural Development programs in Texas, visit