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USDA awards $4.8 million for co-op development.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan in September announced that 28 organizations in 21 states have been selected to receive $4.8 million under the Cooperative Development Grant program of USDA Rural Development. The announcement was made as part of the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative, a USDA-wide collaboration that connects people more closely with the farmers who supply their food and increase the production, marketing and consumption of fresh, nutritious food that is grown locally in a sustainable manner.

"The cooperative business model continues to be successful in creating wealth in rural communities and can also play an important role in strengthening our food systems," Merrigan said. "USDA is proud to be a partner in the effort to bolster these cooperatives and help them increase the value and appeal of the products and services they deliver."

USDA Rural Development is awarding a $200,000 grant to The Ohio State University Research Foundation to support the foundation's efforts to help individuals and new and emerging cooperative business entities. The Foundation will provide technical assistance to a statewide farmers market management network cooperative and to a newly formed purchasing cooperative for businesses in Appalachia.

The Value-Added Agriculture Development Center in Pierre, S.D., has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant to continue supporting the creation of producer-owned, value-added agriculture. The Center will help local growers educate the public, lenders and producers about the benefits of value-added agriculture. These efforts often increase sales of locally grown crops in addition to increasing local agriculture's contribution to area residents' health and to the local economy.

Cooperative Development Grant program funds may be used for technical assistance, research and informational materials to help rural residents form cooperative businesses or improve the operations of existing cooperatives.

Below is a complete list of the selected grant recipients. Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

* Alabama: Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund--$200,000;

* Alaska: University of Alaska Anchorage--$197,783;

* California: California Cooperative Development Center--$200,000;

* Colorado: Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Educational & Charitable Foundation--$200,000;

* Georgia: Southwest Georgia United Empowerment Zone Inc.--$50,000;

* Indiana: Indiana Cooperative Development Center Inc.--$126,521;

* Iowa: Iowa State University--$200,000;

* Kentucky: Kentucky Center for Ag and Rural Development--$200,000;

* Massachusetts: Cooperative Development Institute--$200,000;

* Michigan: Michigan State University--$200,000;

* Montana: Montana Cooperative

Development Center Inc.--$200,000; Lake County Community Development Corporation--$99,696; Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes--$50,000;

* Nebraska: University of Nebrasks--$200,000;

* North Carolina: North Carolina State University--$200,000;

* North Dakota: North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives--$200,000; Common Enterprise Development Center--$200,000; ABLE Inc.--$50,000; Griggs Steele Empowerment Zone--$30,600;

* Ohio: Kent State University--$200, 000; The Ohio State University Research Foundation--$200,000; National Network of Forest Practitioners--$200,000;

* Oklahoma: East Central University--$199,966;

* Pennsylvania: Keystone Development Center Inc.--$200,000;

* South Dakota: Value-Added Agriculture Development Center--$200,000;

* Virginia: Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation & Rural Sustainability--$200,000;

* Washington: Northwest Cooperative Development Center--$200,000;

* Wisconsin: Cooperative Development Services, Inc.--$200,000.
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Title Annotation:Newsline: Co-op developments, coast to coast
Publication:Rural Cooperatives
Date:Nov 1, 2009
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