State Co-op Groups to Receive USDA Funding
The USDA’s Office of Rural Development has awarded a fifth round of funding to the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and Cooperative Network to develop cooperative businesses in rural communities across Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Rural Cooperative Development Grant program exists to help rural cooperatives and small businesses expand, create jobs and strengthen their capacity to serve rural citizens and communities.
The $200,000 grant will focus on food, agriculture, and healthcare industries; broadband access; senior housing; the promotion of employee ownership as a business succession and retention strategy; and several cooperative education initiatives.
“The cooperative model is an important tool for supporting entrepreneurship, wealth creation, and delivery of critical services, especially in rural areas,” said UWCC Director Anne Reynolds. “This grant will increase our capacity to deliver cooperative development services to rural communities in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”
UWCC and Cooperative Network see ongoing and significant demand for cooperative development assistance in rural areas of the Upper Midwest. With the help of RCDG funds, the groups will continue providing technical assistance and counseling to existing cooperatives and groups interested in forming new cooperative businesses in the Upper Midwest. Types of assistance available include organizational development, cooperative education, board training, and support during feasibility and business planning activities.