USDA Farmers

USDA Loan and Grant Opportunities in Florida and U.S. Virgin Islands

The funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was created under the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized under the 2018 Farm Bill. USDA seeks applications for the Fiscal Year 2021 funding. The deadlines to apply for grants are Feb. 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

Applications are being accepted for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems, to make energy efficiency improvements, conduct energy audits, and provide development assistance.

REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations. Eligible systems may derive energy from wind, solar, hydroelectric, ocean, hydrogen, geothermal or renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters).

For additional information, see the notice in the Federal Register.

Intermediary Relending Program

USDA is seeking applications for funding to establish revolving loan programs to support rural businesses and community development projects.  Subject to the availability of funds, the loans will be established through USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program. Eligible recipients include non-profits and cooperatives, federally recognized tribes, and public agencies.

The revolving loan funds may be loaned to ultimate recipient borrowers to acquire, construct or enlarge a business; purchase or develop land; purchase equipment, machinery or supplies; or for start-up costs and working capital.

Paper and electronic applications must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development State Office where the project is located and will be processed quarterly. For additional information, see the Federal Register notice. 

Value Added Producer Grant

USDA seeks applications for grants to help agricultural producers and small rural businesses develop and market new products.

Approximately $33 million in grants is available under the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. The Agency may also utilize any funding that becomes available through enactment of fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations.

The grants may be used to develop new products from raw agricultural products or to promote new markets for established products. Veterans, socially-disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches, and farmer and rancher cooperatives are given special priority.

Electronic applications must be submitted by March 16, 2021 to Grants.gov. Paper applications must be submitted by March 22, 2021 to a USDA Rural Development State Office. For additional information, see the Federal Register and VAPG applicant resources

Rural Business Development Grant

This program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for rural small businesses. Applications may be accepted from rural public entities including, but not limited to, towns, communities, state agencies, authorities, non-profit corporations, institutions of higher education, federally recognized tribes, and rural cooperatives organized as a private non-profit corporation.

Grant funds must be used for projects that benefit rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city with a population of 50,000 or more. Check eligible areas.

There is no maximum grant amount; however, smaller requests are given higher priority. There is no cost sharing requirement. Opportunity grants are limited to up to 10 percent of the total Rural Business Development Grant annual funding.

Enterprise grants must be used on projects to benefit small and emerging businesses in rural areas as specified in the grant application. Uses may include:

  • Training and technical assistance, such as project planning, business counseling and training, market research, feasibility studies, professional or/technical reports or producer service improvements.
  • Acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings; plants, machinery, equipment, access for streets and roads; parking areas and utilities.
  • Pollution control and abatement.
  • The capitalization of revolving loan funds, including funds that will make loans for start-ups and working capital.
  • Distance adult learning for job training and advancement.
  • Rural transportation improvement.
  • Community economic development.
  • Technology-based economic development.
  • Feasibility studies and business plans.
  • Leadership and entrepreneur training.
  • Rural business incubators.
  • Long-term business strategic planning.

Opportunity grants can be used for:

  • Community economic development.
  • Technology-based economic development.
  • Feasibility studies and business plans.
  • Leadership and entrepreneur training.
  • Rural business incubators.
  • Long-term business strategic planning. 

Applications are accepted through USDA Rural Development’s local or state offices. Applicants are advised to view program information specific to your local or state office to learn about local application timelines, concept paper requirements, etc.

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; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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