DENVER—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the recipients of over $3.6 million in cooperative development grants, including a grant in the amount of $291,690 to the Rocky Mountain Cooperative Development Center, which operates under Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU). An official presentation of the grant funds will be made on October 9 by State Director Gigi Dennis at the office of RMFU.
“We appreciate this USDA partnership which enables groups of producers interested in using the cooperative model to work together to add value to their products,” said Robert Mailander, director of the Rocky Mountain Cooperative Development Center.
The purpose of the grants is to create or retain jobs in rural areas through the development of new rural cooperatives, value-added processing and marketing businesses. The Rocky Mountain Cooperative Development Center will use the funds to provide producers with education and technical assistance in the areas of cooperative startup, marketing, management, and value-added production. The grant awarded to RMFU will be used to assist producers interested in forming a variety of different cooperatives, including natural meats, vegetable processing and other value-added projects. Grant monies can be used to help producers pay for feasibility studies and research needed to start their cooperatives.
The Rocky Mountain Cooperative Development Center provides accounting and legal assistance, some technical information and also functions as a referring organization for those seeking assistance in starting a producer-owned cooperative. Any producer or group of producers wishing to work with the center may contact Mailander at 303-752-5800.