USDA Seeks Applications to Support Business Development and Create Jobs in Rural Pennsylvania

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) it is accepting applications to support economic development and create jobs in rural America.

USDA is making this funding available under the Rural Business Development Grant program for eligible entities to support business opportunity and enterprise projects in rural communities. Eligible entities are rural towns, communities, state agencies, authorities, nonprofits, federally-recognized tribes, institutes of higher education and cooperatives.

Eligible applicants for the set-aside funds must demonstrate that at least 75 percent of the benefits of an approved grant will assist beneficiaries in the designated areas.

Applications must be submitted to the nearest USDA office by 4:30 p.m. local time on March 31, 2021. For additional information, see page 8610 of the Feb. 4, 2021, Federal Register.

In Pennsylvania, please contact David Foster, Rural Business & Cooperative Program Director, for more information: Phone: (717)237-2181 or

The funding may be used to establish business support centers or to finance job training and leadership development in rural areas. Projects must be consistent with any local and area-wide community and economic development strategic plans, support other economic development activities in the project area, and be consistent with any Rural Development state strategic plan. Funding for enterprise projects must be used to finance or develop small and emerging businesses in rural areas.

This year, USDA anticipates that part of the funding will be set aside for federally-recognized Native American tribes, Rural Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Communities/Rural Economic Area Partnerships, and Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) projects. USDA also anticipates a set-aside of funding for projects located in Persistent Poverty areas, including those of Native Americans.