USDA is accepting applications for Rural Development’s Rural Business Opportunity Grant program. The 2.6-million dollars available provides training and technical assistance grants for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and assists with economic development planning. Funding is available to rural public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Native American tribes and cooperatives with primarily rural members that conduct activities for the mutual benefit of the membership.
The program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities and regions with exceptional needs. Last year, for example, Ecotrust in Oregon received a RBOG grant to increase recruitment of producers and buyers in rural communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. It also used the grant to provide training and assistance for FoodHub, which is an online directory and marketplace designed to connect wholesale food buyers and sellers. Applications for Rural Business Opportunity Grants are due August 1, 2011.