Technical Assistance to Cooperatives

To develop and administer research, technical assistance, statistical, and educational programs on finances, organization, management, legal, social, and economic aspects of rural cooperatives, focusing on farmer cooperatives.

credit: disabilityaids
Examples of Funded Projects

RBS provides technical assistance to help groups organize and establish new cooperatives and conducts advisory assistance to established cooperatives.

RBS collects, analyzes and disseminates statistical information on rural cooperatives in the United States and its territories.

RBS creates educational materials and conducts workshops about rural cooperatives.

RBS conducts specialized applied research about rural and farmer cooperatives.

RBS publishes the Rural Cooperatives bimonthly magazine that focuses on rural cooperative events and issues of importance nationally and internationally.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - Rural Development, State Office.

Telephone numbers should be listed under Government in local telephone books.

Visit Web site listed below.

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Program Accomplishments

Cooperative Services provides research, technical assistance, education and advisory services, and publication materials to rural and farmer cooperatives and to groups interested in organizing cooperatives. National Office and State Office staffs coordinate activities and responsibilities to best serve clients. Assistance to cooperatives was authorized by the Cooperative Marketing Act of 1926 and is available as part of the rural economic development efforts within the USDA.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Services are limited to rural residents, including groups interested in forming cooperatives and established rural cooperatives.

Publications are available to anyone.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Farmer and rural cooperatives and groups of rural residents interested in forming cooperatives, Native Americans, and rural residents in all U.S.


Beneficiary Eligibility

Beneficiary Eligibility: Farmer/Rancher/Agriculture Producer; Rural residents.


Requests for technical assistance by an established cooperative should come from the cooperative board of directors. Requests for assistance in forming a cooperative should be made in writing from a steering committee on behalf of the interested rural group.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


Consultation or assistance is available from the State Office or National Office to aid in preparing the request for assistance.

Initial e-mail inquiries may be sent to

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

A formal letter requesting assistance and including a description of the problem or nature of request is required. Send letters to either the National Office--Letter to the Deputy Administrator for Cooperative Services, Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) or State Rural Development Office--Letter to the State Director, Rural Development. Requests made to the State Office may be forwarded to the National Office. Appropriate addresses may be found at the Web site shown later in this program description.

Award Procedures

RBS considers all requests.




Cooperative Marketing Act of 1926, 7 U.S.C. 451- 457; Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, 7 U.S.C. 1621-1627.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Requests are usually acted upon within 10 days following receipt at the National or State Offices.


Requests denied by the State Office may be appealed to the National Office.


If clients need additional assistance following formal closure of Federal assistance, a new request must be submitted.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Varies depending on the nature of the request or complexity of problem.

Post Assistance Requirements


On a periodic basis, RBS will request key persons representing the client to evaluate the assistance received.


In accordance with the provisions of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003). "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, "non Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $500,000 per year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.



Financial Information

Account Identification



Not separately identifiable.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Many publications related to farmer and rural cooperatives are available via the World Wide Web at the indicated Web Site or through

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Rural Development, State Office. Telephone numbers should be listed under Government in local telephone books. Visit Web site listed below.

Headquarters Office

Deputy Administrator, Cooperative Services, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stop 3250, Washington, DC 20250-3250. Telephone: (202) 720-7558. FAX (202) 720-4641. FTS is not available. Visit Web site listed below.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Requests for assistance must come from or on behalf of residents in rural areas of the United States or its territories.

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