Klobuchar, Smith Announce Rural Development Funding to Support Local Agriculture in Minnesota

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded grants totaling $800,000 to provide technical assistance and support for local cooperatives and small businesses in Minnesota.

“These grants will help ensure that local cooperatives and small businesses have access to the support and training opportunities they need to succeed and continue developing more valueadded uses for crops and coproducts and local agricultural opportunities,” Klobuchar said. “We must continue working to expand opportunity for farmers to enhance and sustain their livelihood for generations to come.”

“This investment will help move Minnesota products to market, support a diverse group of farmers, and sustain and develop coops,” Smith said. “It’s good to see that the USDA understands we need to work together to support small cooperatives and businesses in the state.”

A grant of $200,000 for the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) will help provide scientific technical assistance, and a targeted network of resources to develop value-added uses for crops and coproducts, as well as provide applied research services and product development assistance to create new ag-based products, process refinements and help to move them to market. 

A grant of $200,000 will provide technical assistance for rural cooperatives of Latino immigrant farmers in rural Minnesota. The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) will provide technical and leadership opportunities to clients. 

A grant of $200,000 will provide technical assistance in support of resident-owned home community development in rural Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. The Northcountry Cooperative Foundation helps residents of manufactured housing communities organize cooperatives, carry out a shared purchase of the land beneath their homes, and support them in the governance, oversight, and completion of infrastructure. The Foundation delivers ongoing education, organizational development, and support for worker cooperatives, youth cooperatives, and food cooperatives. This funding will help support this mission.

A grant of $200,000 will be used to support the Food Co-op Initiative (FCI), a Cooperative Development Center in Savage, MN. FCI aims to increase the number, success and sustainability of new food cooperatives delivering access to healthy food in diverse communities across this country. It provides information, training and technical assistance, as well as seed capital, and engages in research to blaze, maintain and improve the development path for new food coops in rural America. This project will help them to continue this mission and support.