USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Support Small-Socially Disadvantaged Producers
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
WASHINGTON, June 12,
2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking
applications from cooperatives to provide technical assistance to small,
socially disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas. The United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission,
despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one
part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
"These grants will jump
start small business hiring and help producers in areas facing economic
challenges get the tools they need to succeed,” Vilsack said. "Small businesses are the engines of job
growth and innovation in America.”
Funding will be
made available through USDA Rural Development’s Small, Socially Disadvantaged
Producer Grant program (SSDPG). The maximum grant award is $200,000.
The SSDPG and other
USDA business and cooperative development programs have had a significant
impact on rural communities. In 2012
alone, they helped almost 10,000 rural small business owners or farmers improve
their enterprises. Business and
cooperative program funding created or saved an estimated 53,000 rural jobs in
include cooperatives, groups of cooperatives, and cooperative development centers
where a majority of the governing board or board of directors is comprised of individuals
who are members of socially disadvantaged groups. Small,
socially disadvantaged producers include farmers, ranchers, loggers,
agricultural harvesters, and fishermen that have averaged $250,000 or less in
annual gross sales of agricultural products in the last three years. Producers
will be able to conduct market research, product and/or service improvement,
feasibility studies, training, and implement business plans.
deadline for Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grants is July 15, 2013 for
paper applications and July 10, 2013 for electronic applications. For
additional information on how to apply, see the June 12 Federal
Register, page 35239, or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_SSDPG.html.
plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in
stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments
in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered
rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy,
small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities
support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American
values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a
smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and
ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and
working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its
Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve
the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and
ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a
concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA
implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated
under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic
efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through
targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a
better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget
reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
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