USDA Small Business Grants

by Janie Sullivan
United States Department of Agriculture offers grants.

United States Department of Agriculture offers grants.

Agriculture image by Waring D from

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an excellent source for funding a small business in rural America. Several types of grants are available for not only those interested in funding an agricultural enterprise, but for other small business entities in rural communities. There are business enterprise and opportunity grants, economic development loans and grants, and value-added producer grants. Some are available to nonprofits, community development organizations, and schools. Others are available to commercial businesses in certain circumstances.

Business Enterprise Grants

Business enterprise grants through the USDA are available to public and private nonprofit corporations as well as Indian tribes in rural areas with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants. These grants are for development of small business enterprises not located in cities or towns with greater than 50,000 inhabitants.

Business Opportunity Grants

Grants are available to rural communities with exceptional needs. These grants, called Business Opportunity Grants, pay the costs for economic planning, training for entrepreneurs and technical assistance for rural businesses.

Economic Development Loans And Grants

The USDA provides funds to rural electric and telephone companies through Economic Development Grants to promote rural economic development through a revolving loan fund program. The electric and telephone companies provide 20 percent of the grant and the USDA provides the remaining 80 percent to establish the initial fund source. The loans are then made to nonprofit or pubic companies for community development projects.

Value-Added Agriculture Producer Grant

The two main objectives of the Value-Added Agriculture Producer Grant are: 1) to increase the value of agricultural products to the end user by refining the products and 2) to create a center where information can be gathered, coordinated and disseminated. Information from this center will assist independent producers in adding value to their processes.

About the Author

Janie Sullivan, a freelance writer living in Apache Junction, Arizona, has had articles published in Small Business Start-Ups and The Adjunct Advocate magazines. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Montana and both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix.

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