Johanns Announces $3.6 Million for 19 Rural Cooperative Development Centers
WASHINGTON.- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the award of more than $3.6 million to help Rural Cooperative Development Centers improve the economic condition of rural areas in 18 states.
“These funds will help strengthen the rural economy and assist farmers, ranchers, and rural business owners across the nation in establishing and marketing cooperatives,” Johanns said. “Rural Cooperative Development Centers are important to our efforts to support rural America’s entrepreneurs.”
Grants are being awarded to nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education to finance up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing and operating Centers for Cooperative Development.
For example, the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development plans to provide technical assistance and education to promote new cooperatives while continuing to improve existing farmers’ cooperatives. The Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development estimates that during Fiscal Year 2008 it will assist at least 27 individuals, cooperatives or other organizations in business development efforts, create 25 jobs and retain 60 jobs for rural Kentucky.
USDA Rural Development’s Cooperative Program helps rural residents form new cooperative businesses and improve the operations of existing cooperatives. To accomplish this, Cooperative Programs provide technical assistance, conduct cooperative-related research, and produce informational materials to promote public understanding of cooperatives. Since 2001, the Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program has awarded 146 grants totaling $35.7 million.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. USDA Rural Development has invested more than $76.8 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. More than 1.5 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov .
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