The USDA has a long history in technical assistance through staff of cooperative development centers and applied research directed towards cooperatives. The USDA may be a source of funds to launch new cooperative business.

Grant programs useful to launch or support agricultural cooperatives

Farmers, cooperatives, and producer groups are eligible for Value-Added Producer Grants to explore value-added activities, generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities.

The Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program is a competitive grant program open to non-profit corporations, cooperatives, and institutions of higher education to assist persons organizing or leading cooperatives through conducting feasibility studies, developing business plans, providing leadership and operational improvement training, and facilitating strategic planning.

Cooperatives and cooperative development centers are eligible to apply to the Socially Disadvantaged Groups grant program to provide technical assistance to under or unserved populations.

The United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Cooperative Business Services provides publications, reports and educational materials focused on cooperative business structures.

Cooperative Information Reports (CIR) provide information about the cooperative business structure and can be useful for persons interested in organizing cooperatives, leading cooperatives, and managing cooperatives.

Research Reports (RR) summarize studies of various cooperative issues. Some reports are collaborative efforts with other institutions outside of USDA.

Service Reports (SR) focus on cooperative statistics and business activity.