USDA Awards Cooperative Development Grant to CDS

USDA Announces Investment to Dane County Organization to Support Economic Development and Job Creation

Cooperative Development Services, Inc. receives grant to provide cooperative business assistance in rural Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa

La Crosse, WI - November 2, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Stan Gruszynski  announced today that Cooperative Development Services, Inc. (CDS) of Madison, Wis. has been selected to receive USDA funding that will help spur regional economic development, create jobs, and strengthen their capacity to serve rural residents and communities.

“At USDA Rural Development our mission is to support and contribute to the economic viability of rural communities and help them build toward the future” said Gruszynski. “This funding will assist Cooperative Development Services support regional initiatives and expand the capacity for economic opportunity and job growth. Although National Cooperative Month has drawn to a close, USDA is proud to continue to support local and regional efforts to bolster cooperatives and help them bring increased value and opportunity to rural residents."

Cooperative Development Services is using a $175,000 grant from USDA Rural Development’s Cooperative Development Grant Program to support an existing Center that will deliver outreach, education and technical assistance in rural areas of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. Services of the Center include project development, market research, feasibility analysis, business planning, and governance training. The intent is to aid clients in developing profitable, sustainable, cooperatively owned businesses, and transfer successful strategies to other regions of the country. It is estimated that this effort will create 10 jobs and assist over 30 cooperatives, businesses, and/or groups in the region.

The announcement was made as a regional food cooperative training conference came to a close in La Crosse WI.  CDS co-sponsored the training with two other RCDG-funded centers as part an effort to build capacity to start new food co-ops nationwide.

“This grant directly supports our mission of creating a cooperative economy in the region, “ said Kevin Edberg, executive director of the organization. “With these funds, we will support cooperative entrepreneurs in rural communities as they use co-ops to meet their economic and social needs during this time of instability and change.”

Cooperative Development Services is a 27 year old non-profit created to help new co-ops get started and to help existing cooperatives expand. It is governed by and morally accountable to the cooperative community of the Upper Midwest.

The USDA Rural Development Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program helps facilitate the creation or retention of jobs in rural areas through the development or rural cooperative and rural businesses. The primary objective of the RCDG program is to assist individuals or entities in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Grants are awarded competitively on an annual basis to Rural Cooperative Development Centers who in turn provide technical assistance to individuals and entities. For more information about the RCDG program, please visit .

USDA Rural Development invested $558 million throughout rural Wisconsin over the past year, and helped a record number of residents receive funding for economic development projects and quality of life improvements. The agency’s investment in Wisconsin helped create or retain an estimated 2,000 jobs; aided 2,900 families in buying their own homes; and assisted more than 200 communities in improving community facilities and upgrading local infrastructure.

This year, USDA is commemorating the 150th anniversary founding of the “Peoples Department.”  In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture.  Since then, USDA has helped support the tremendous growth and success of American agriculture, drive economic growth, conserved natural resources and build stronger communities and a stronger nation.  As we celebrate 150 years of accomplishments, USDA is looking to the future.  In the years to come, we will help address the changing needs of agriculture and rural America. We will continue to help provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

To learn more about Rural Development, visit our website at