The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Small Business Connections is designed to provide small businesses and small farmer-owned cooperatives with the exposure and insight to help increase contracting participation with the federal government. USDA’s continued commitment to broadening this access to contract opportunities stimulates small business ownership and economic growth, creates jobs, and results in improving the quality of life across America.
In support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to put Americans back to work and create an economy built to last, on Sept. 24 in Macon, Ga., the USDA Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization will host Rural Small Business Connections. This training event will provide small businesses with educational networking sessions and tips on how to successfully do business with USDA and other federal agencies. Read more »
In support of Secretary Vilsack’s implementation of President Obama’s agenda to put Americans back to work and create an economy built to last, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) in collaboration with Virginia State University’s (VSU) Small Farm Outreach Program will host Rural Small Business Connections. This training event will provide small businesses with a series of educational networking sessions and opportunities on how to build capacity and successfully do business with USDA and other Federal agencies. Read more »
A new Co-op Market and Deli, centrally located in a former Fairbanks grocery store, is open for business with support from USDA and the Golden Valley Electric Association. Photos by Jane Gibson, USDA.
Alaska’s first member-owned community grocery store is open for business. The Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market was partially funded by the USDA Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants (REDLG) program.
Making this project possible was the Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), a USDA borrower since 1949. GVEA is the grantee that was awarded a REDLG to fund a revolving loan which was used to help establish the Market. USDA Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund traveled to Fairbanks last month to join with community, volunteers and founders in the grand opening of the new Market. The store has already provided more than 20 new local jobs for residents. Read more »
Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative was founded because small livestock producers' livelihoods were threatened by having to travel long distances to slaughterhouses. The Washington based slaughter unit operates at three venues on a weekly or semi-weekly schedule.
[Note: the following is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in the November/December issue of Rural Cooperatives, a magazine published by USDA Rural Development]
Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative has been operating for just over a year, with a roll of 60 voting members in nine contiguous counties, and another 30 associate members. Read more »
Oklahoma Food Co-op’s distribution range
One afternoon in the fall of 2003, 36 consumers and several volunteers gathered in the basement of an Oklahoma City church to sort and purchase products from twenty local producers. They generated $3,500 in sales, and the opening day of the Oklahoma Food Coop (OFC) was determined to have been a great success. Read more »
Donn Teske, farmer and President of the Kansas Farmers’ Union, is optimistic. He believes that small and mid-sized farms are making successful inroads to improve their market power and these efforts have great potential. Donn himself operates a fifth generation, 2,000 acre organic farm and ranch in northeastern Kansas, and, in spite of increasing difficulties, he has not been deterred from continuing to improve the marketing opportunities for mid-sized farmers.
One of these opportunities has come from the Kansas Organic Producers (KOP), a group of nearly sixty farmers that provides crucial marketing services for its members. Established in 1974 as an education association to help promote the production and marketing of organic products, the group restructured in 1992 to focus on marketing organic grain. One-third of Donn’s farm is dedicated to alfalfa hay, red clover, milo (grain sorghum), corn, soybeans and wheat. With nearly his entire crop production servicing the livestock industry, KOP is his primary marketing channel. His harvest alone would be far more difficult to market effectively, but the services of KOP give growers a shared clout. Read more »