Last Updated January 26, 2010
Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG)
Providing grants for establishing and operating centersfor cooperative development
Rural Cooperative Development Grants are made for establishing and operating centers for cooperative development to improve the economic condition of rural areas by developing new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives. The USDA aims to encourage and stimulate the development of effective cooperative organizations in rural America as a part of its total package of rural development efforts. In Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09), RCDG received $5.9 million, and in FY10 it received $11.4 million in federal appropriations.
Examples of cooperative development activities that could be funded under this program include:
- Providing services to newly developing cooperatives in its geographic area on organizational guidance, cooperative development strategies, business plans, and feasibility analyses
- Arranging training on cooperative organization and management skills
- Developing expertise in financial management, bookkeeping/accounting, and cooperative law to enable hands-on assistance to developing cooperatives
- Evaluating the potential for development of a base of support for cooperative programs within local communities to ensure that needed leadership is mobilized
Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions
Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to receive grants. Grants may go to eligible recipients in rural areas to form and operate centers for cooperative development — for providing education, research, and technical assistance to rural cooperatives and assisting the cooperative development process.
Grants may be awarded for up to 75 percent of the total cost of the project. The applicant must contribute at least 25 percent from nonfederal sources.
Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and are based on specific selection criteria. These criteria are published each year in Federal Register notices. Preference will be given to applications that:
- Demonstrate a proven track record in administering a national, regional or statewide project Demonstrate previous expertise in providing technical assistance to cooperatives in rural areas
- Demonstrate the ability to assist in the retention of business
- Facilitate the establishment of cooperatives and new cooperative approaches, and generate employment opportunities that will improve the economic conditions of rural areas
- Demonstrate the ability to create horizontal linkages among cooperative businesses within and among various sectors in rural areas of the United States and vertical linkages to domestic and international markets
- Commit to providing technical assistance and other services to underserved and eco-nomically distressed rural areas of the United States
- Commit to providing more than a 25 percent matching contribution with private funds and in-kind contributions
- Show evidence of transferability or demonstration value to assist rural areas outside of project area
- Demonstrate that any cooperative development activity is consistent with positive environmental stewardship
Groups may seek financial, legal, or other assistance from a RCDG-funded center for a cooperative venture. To find the center serving your multi-state region, visit this website and click on "grant recipients."
Assistant Deputy Administrator, Cooperative Programs
USDA Rural Development
Phone: (202) 720-7558