USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Support the Development of Rural Community Facilities

From USDA: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA is seeking applications for technical assistance and training grants in the Community Facilities program.

“Too often, rural community organizations lack the technical expertise they need to access federal dollars,” Perdue said. “These technical assistance and training grants will help rural organizations overcome hurdles that prevent them from fully utilizing the Community Facilities Program. Increased access to federal funding will help build essential community facilities, and will allow rural areas to thrive.”

The grants are being provided through the Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant Program. Congress authorized this new program in the 2014 Farm Bill to help rural communities develop their applications for Community Facilities loans and grants.

Communities can use the grants to hire specialized personnel, pay for feasibility studies, retain consultants to prepare financial assistance applications and identify and plan for long-term community facilities needs.

Providing technical assistance will help more rural communities qualify for loans and grants. Many often lack access to specialized personnel who complete financial and environmental analyses, for example. These analyses often must be included in applications for USDA loans and grants.

Public bodies, non-profit organizations and Federally-recognized Tribes are eligible to apply for this funding. The maximum grant is $150,000.

Interested applicants may find more information about this program on page 23525 of the May 23, 2017, Federal Register.

Community Facilities programs help underserved rural communities develop essential community services, which in turn helps attract investments, create and retain jobs and businesses, and retain residents.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA Certifies Another Rural Business Investment Fund

Fund to Help Capitalize Small Rural Businesses

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017 – Acting Deputy Under Secretary Roger Glendenning today announced that USDA has certified the Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV LP as an investment pool for small and startup rural businesses.

“This certification is another tool USDA provides to help rural businesses, to create jobs and to attract private-sector capital to rural communities,” Glendenning said. “Geography should not be a barrier to economic success. This pool will offer rural business owners the same access to capital as their counterparts in metropolitan areas.”

The fund will support 30 to 45 companies that have the potential to generate more than $200 million in economic activity and create 600 jobs. It will provide capital for high-growth companies in the biosciences, technology and agricultural technology industries. The fund is the second USDA has certified under the Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP). RBIP funds support USDA’s strategy for rural economic growth.

For a fund to receive USDA certification, its managers must demonstrate that they have venture capital experience and that they have successfully worked with community development organizations.

The Ag Innovation Fund is being managed by Innova Memphis RBIC, LLC. Innova has three other funds that are not part of the Rural Business Investment Program. Those three funds collectively have invested $20 million in 75 startup companies, attracted $90 million of outside capital and created approximately 250 jobs.

Farm Credit System members are contributing $31 million to the Ag Innovation Fund. The Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of banks and lenders specifically chartered to serve agriculture and the U.S. rural economy.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.