AURI has been awarded a USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) for $68,340 to further assist with the development of rural cooperatives in Minnesota in 2013. The work done with the grant will build on AURI’s previous successful work implementing an RCDG grant in 2011-12.

Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company

Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company is one of the cooperatives helped through USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant.

With the funds, AURI will provide applied research, scientific assistance, project facilitation, marketing, economic feasibility and organizational development services to new or existing cooperatives in the areas of local foods marketing and distribution, dairy processing, livestock feed processing, food processing and renewable energy.

“Throughout our 23-year history, AURI has provided assistance promoting the development of cooperatively and mutually-owned businesses, and we are pleased to partner with USDA to continue that work,” explains AURI Executive Director Teresa Spaeth. “From the early stages of innovation and formation through well-established coops, the needs of each vary considerably, and AURI can come alongside them to offer organizational development services and scientific services.”

With the funds, AURI aims to:

  • Use cooperative development as a strategy to maintain or improve economic conditions of eligible rural areas
  • Provide direct technical assistance and applied research services to meet the cooperative development needs of at least five cooperatives representing 6,850 producers in various stages of development in economically distressed areas
  • Continue to grow a collaborative, integrated approach of delivering cooperative development services, utilizing the most appropriate expertise available.

“AURI has a proven record of success in helping cooperatives strengthen rural economies and boost local agricultural producers,” says Colleen Landkamer, USDA Rural Development State Director. “When we’re out in rural areas, we hear often about the need for more resources in the area of technical assistance and planning. This grant will provide some of those resources for cooperatives in Greater Minnesota.”