USDA is awarding more than $4 million in grants to 23 organizations to support rural economic development projects and will soon seek applications for the next round of program funding.
The awards and the request for applications are being provided through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program. RCDI helps community-based development organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes and other groups promote economic development in low-income, rural communities.
"The latest Census data show that last year, rural America's population grew at the fastest rate since 2010," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA stands ready to help rural communities create jobs and continue to be a place where people want to raise their families. We have seen time and again that our community investments are most successful when we partner with folks already embedded in the local fabric. These grants will help bring jobs to our rural small towns, with USDA providing funding and technical assistance to help launch business and development projects specifically tailored to the needs of each local and regional area."
RCDI grants are not provided directly to businesses or individuals. Instead, awards are provided to public or non-profit intermediaries that are locally based and skilled in business development and job creation. Recipients must obtain matching funds, which doubles the impact of the grants. USDA will publish application information in an upcoming Federal Register notice.
Since 2009, USDA has awarded $39 million to support 206 rural economic development projects financed through the RCDI program. The projects are examples of USDA's support for locally based development strategies.
Funding for recipients announced today is contingent upon the grantee meeting the terms of the grant agreement.