Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting grant applications to assist rural businesses and create job opportunities through cooperative development centers.

"Cooperative development centers create jobs by providing rural businesses owners with technical and managerial skills to improve their operations," Vilsack said. "

Grants of up to $225,000 may be awarded to colleges, universities, and non-profit groups to create and operate centers that help individuals or groups establish, expand or operate rural businesses, especially cooperatives.

 Cooperative program grants can be used, among other things, to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services.

USDA may award up to $7.9 million in grants through this notice of funding availability. Grants may finance up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing and operating the cooperative centers.

Applications are due Aug. 9.

More information.

Source: USDA