The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to support technical assistance for socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers and rural business owners.
Up to $3 million will be awarded nationwide this year through USDA's Socially-Disadvantaged Group Grants Program to help small businesses retain and create jobs in rural areas. The maximum amount an individual applicant may receive is $175,000.
The grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals. Instead, qualified organizations receiving these grants will provide technical assistance and training to socially-disadvantaged agricultural producers or rural businesses. The technical assistance may include leadership training and support developing feasibility studies, business plans, and strategic plans.
Assistance may be provided to hemp producers only if they have a valid license issued from an approved state, tribal, or federal plan as per Section 10113 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115–334.
Cooperatives, groups of cooperatives, and cooperative development centers that serve socially-disadvantaged groups and where a majority of their board of directors or governing board is comprised of members of a disadvantaged group are eligible to apply. USDA defines a socially-disadvantaged group as one whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as a member of that group without regard to their individual qualities. Applicants may be based in any area, but the groups they serve must be located in an eligible rural area.
Grants are awarded through a competitive process. Electronic applications must be submitted to grants.gov by 9:00 p.m. Pacific Tim on August 10, 2020.
To discuss a potential application or to learn more about the application process, contact Eben Fisher, Business and Cooperative Programs Specialist, (541) 278-8049 ext. 129. You can also find additional information on page 38111 of the June 25, 2020, Federal Register.