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USDA offers funding to rural cooperatives


USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager has announced support to help rural cooperatives expand economic activity in their communities.

The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Cooperative Development Grant program. According to the National Cooperative Business Association, the nation's 30,000 cooperatives account for more than $650 billion in revenue and more than 2 million jobs.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one of the recipients and plans to use a $224,982 grant to provide technical assistance to groups developing cooperatively owned businesses. Assistance will be provided to cooperative groups that are establishing a new business as well as those who have a growing or expanding business.

One of the areas of focus will be local and regional food systems that through it is continuing support of Buy Fresh, Buy Local Nebraska and the Farmers' Market Association. Both organizations work closely with local producers to promote and market locally grown foods. Nebraska Cooperative Development Center will provide technical assistance to these locally grown food producers, grocers, and restaurants in promoting and marketing local foods.

Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

A complete list of recipients can be found at www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2010/10/0505.xml.

For more information contact Joan Scheel at 402-437-5594 or joan.scheel@ne.usda.gov.

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