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Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program

Continued support for USDA Rural Development’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) and Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant (REDLG) Programs

Issue: The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) provides rural community, business and infrastructure development support services. This support is provided through administration of services linking recipients to financial resources and business development expertise. This work is financially supported primarily through USDA Rural Development’s RCDG program and REDLG program.

Status: The Trump Administration and it's Office of Management & Budget released it's budget for 2018. Among the recommendations is the elimination of all funding for the RCDG and REDLG programs in the FY 2018 budget.These actions, if taken, would significantly impair NDAREC services to rural enterprises.

*Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG): program of USDA Rural Development, providing financial support to private, non-profit, or public higher education institutions, in their efforts to aid the start-up, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses through cooperative and rural business development. NDAREC is a recipient of this grant, awarded annually from USDA. In the past three years, NDAREC’s operation of a center of rural development, made possible through support from USDA, has assisted 44 business enterprises, and community economic development projects, of which 96 percent are still operational. Projects advanced include health care, day care, food distribution, and housing, among other economic betterment areas. Since 1994, the center has assisted 45 cooperatives, leveraging investment of $619 million.

*Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant (REDLG) programs: USDA Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant programs provide funding to rural community economic development projects through local utility cooperative organizations. USDA provides zero interest loans to electric and telecommunications cooperatives, which, in turn, arrange to pass these loan proceeds along to qualifying local businesses/recipients for projects that will create and retain  employment in rural areas. Recipients repay the lending cooperative directly, enabling the cooperative make repayment to USDA. Under the REDLG program, USDA also provides grant funds to local utility organizations which use the funding to establish revolving loan funds (RLF) with required matching funds from the utilities. Loans are made from the revolving loan funds to projects that will create or retain rural jobs. NDAREC Rural Development services include promoting and assisting local cooperatives with the administration of REDLG services in local communities. To date, NDAREC Rural Development has assisted local electric and telecommunications cooperatives in the issuance of 109 REDLG loans, totalling $40.3 million.

NDAREC opposes the Administration’s proposal to terminate funding for the RCDG program; this would end this critical support for the NDAREC Rural Development services center.

NDAREC opposes the Administration’s proposal to terminate funding for the REDLG program; this would terminate a central service of NDAREC Rural Development, and terminate a primary rural development financial resource currently used by electric and telephone cooperatives.


​Please click here to sign a petition showing your support for these important rural development programs.

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