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USDA seeks applications to support rural businesses, create jobs


Agriculture Under Secretary Lisa Mensah has announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants to support rural businesses and help create jobs.

“This USDA funding will ensure continued investments in rural businesses,” Mensah said. “Too often, rural businesses and the communities they serve lack access to the capital and resources they need to grow and thrive. These grants will help remedy that and allow all Americans the chance to share in the nation’s economic recovery.”

Approximately $3.7 million Native American earmark funding is expected to be available under the Rural Business Development Grant program. Eligible applicants include public bodies, government entities, Indian tribes and nonprofit organizations. Applications for projects benefiting Native American communities must show that at least 75 percent of the benefits of the project will be received by members of an Indian tribe on a Federal or State reservation or other Federally recognized tribal group.

RBDG funds can be used for technical assistance, establishment of small business revolving loan funds and the acquisition of land, buildings, and infrastructure to enhance business development.  In addition funds can be used to support business incubators, feasibility studies and business plans, long-term strategic business planning, leadership and entrepreneurial training.  For instance, the Village of Walthill received $50,000 funding to complete a renewable energy feasibility study and a library strategic plan which will allow the Village to determine the next phase of their economic development plan for an energy park and library expansion.  Funding in the amount of $195,169 will allow First Ponca Financial, Inc. to provide technical assistance, education and financial assistance to entrepreneurs for business development.

Applications for national competition for the Native American earmarked funds are due by close of business, 4:30 pm CT on May 1, 2015. All applications are to be sent to Diane Pavel. One copy by email and one copy by mail (to include original signed forms) to the following address:

USDA Rural Development

Attn: Diane Pavel

4009 6th Ave., Suite 1

Kearney, NE 68845-2386 

To discuss applicant or project eligibility, contact Marla Marx, or (308) 632-2195 extension 1132.

Congress established the RBDG program under the 2014 Farm Bill by combining USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant and Rural Business Opportunity Grant programs. The new program, like its predecessors, is designed to assist the startup or expansion of small and emerging private businesses and/or non-profits in rural communities.


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