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USDA Grants Support Small Agriculture Producers

USDA Rural Development
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a new program called Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant (SSDPG) program that is designed to help small, socially disadvantaged agricultural producers in rural areas across the U.S. The program is offering grant money to companies who can provide technical assistance to small farmers in order to improve their business.

Applications are being accepted for grants up to $200,000. Qualifying companies include cooperatives (a farmer- or rancher-owned and controlled business), groups of cooperatives, and cooperative development centers. Members of the cooperatives must consist primarily of individuals from socially disadvantaged groups. Socially disadvantaged groups are defined as small farmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural harvesters, and those in the fishing industry with annual gross sales of $250,000 or under who reside in towns with populations of 50,000 or less.

Applicants must provide services that will have a significant impact on rural communities. Services may include such programs as business development, market research, product or service improvement, legal advice or market plan development. The assistance provided must result in increased production, expansion of market, or other significant results to small rural farmers.

All grant applications must be received by July 10, 2013.

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