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Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG)

Grants to USA Nonprofits and IHEs to Advance
Business Development in Rural Communities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD)

Deadline Date:

08/10/21 11:59 PM Eastern Time


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Grants to USA nonprofit corporations and IHEs to expand business development in rural communities. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take at least one month to complete. Funding is intended to support the establishment and operation of centers for cooperative development that assist businesses in rural areas. Project funds may also be used for programs providing for the coordination of services and sharing of information among the centers.

The primary objective of the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program is to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals and businesses in the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses through Cooperative Development Centers. 

All project activities must be for the benefit of a rural area. Applications must demonstrate the provision of services to new customers or new services to current customers.

Funds may be used for operating a Rural Cooperative Development Center. Examples of work that the Centers can do are: 

  • Conducting feasibility studies 
  • Developing business plans 
  • Providing leadership and operational improvement training
  • Facilitating strategic planning

Note that the Center can be located in any area, but the individuals and business assisted must be located in an eligible rural area.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 170336

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum award amount per grant is $200,000.

Term of Contract:

Your application must include no more than a one-year grant period, or it will not be considered for funding. The grant period should begin no earlier than October 1, 2021, and no later than January 1, 2022. Applications that request funds for a grant period ending after January 1, 2023, will not be considered for funding. Projects must be completed within a one-year timeframe. The Agency may approve requests for a one-time extension up to 12 months at its discretion.

The Agency understands that fiscal year 2019 or 2020 recipients may have had loss of operations due to COVID–19 and the Agency will work with them in accordance with OMB Memorandum M–20–17 and 2 CFR 200.308 to determine an acceptable grant period if they are awarded RCDG funds in fiscal year 2021.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Grants are available for non-profit corporations and institutions of higher education only.

Applicants and/or beneficiaries of technical assistance services located in Persistent Poverty county seats with populations up to 55,000 (per the 2010 census) are eligible. For further details, please see

Public bodies, for-profit businesses, and individuals are not eligible.

For funding restrictions, see

Pre-Application Information:

Completed applications must be submitted electronically by no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, August 10, 2021, through Applications must be received by no later than the deadline date and time.

Anticipated Award Date: September 30, 2021.

To be eligible (unless you are excepted from this requirement), you are required to:
(a) Provide a valid DUNS number
(b) Register in SAM

To use, you must already have the DUNS number and you must also already be registered and maintain registration in SAM. It is strongly recommended that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through

It is recommended that applicants start the registration process for both the DUNS number and SAM at least a month before any application deadline.

You are encouraged to contact your USDA Rural Development State Office well in advance of the application deadline to discuss your project and ask any questions about the RCDG program or application process.

Prior to official submission of applications, applicants may request technical assistance or other application guidance from the Agency, as long as such requests are made prior to July 12, 2021.

Please note that no assistance or funding can be provided to a hemp producer unless they have a valid license issued from an approved State, Tribal or Federal plan as defined by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115–334. Verification of valid hemp licenses will occur at the time of award.

Your matching funds requirement is at least 25 percent of the total project cost (5 percent for 1994 Institutions):
- Grant funds may be used to pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing and operating centers for rural cooperative development.
- Grant funds may be used to pay for 95 percent of the cost of establishing and operating centers for rural cooperative development when the applicant is a college identified as a ‘‘1994 Institution’’ for purposes of the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994, as defined by 7 U.S.C. 301. The 1994 Institutions are commonly known as Tribal Land Grant Institutions.

Only one application can be submitted per applicant.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For further information, contact:
Lisa Sharp
Program Management Division
Rural Business-Cooperative Service
(202) 720–1400

Contact information for State offices can be found at:

For questions, you may also contact:
National Office Program Management Division
RCDG Program Lead

United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Mail Stop–3226, Room 5160–South
Washington, DC 20250–3226

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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