USDA - Cooperative Development in Rural Michigan (RCDG)

Co-Principal Investigators

The Cooperative Development Program provides comprehensive cooperative business development services in Michigan rural areas, and is administered by the Michigan State University (MSU) Product Center Food-Ag-Bio (Product Center). The Product Center has worked with cooperatives since its inception in 2004, and the Cooperative Development Program within the Product Center has received previous Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDGs) (fiscal years 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).

The Cooperative Development Program under this grant will provide business development expertise, direct development assistance, and educational services to individuals and groups in rural areas desiring to organize cooperative businesses or seeking to expand existing cooperatives. These services will improve economic conditions of rural areas through the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural businesses, especially those cooperatively owned. The main goals of the proposed Cooperative Development Program are to:

  • Provide educational and business development services that support potential or existing cooperatives in rural areas in Michigan.
  • Improve the economic conditions in rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and the expansion of existing cooperatives.
  • Contribute to the improvement of economic conditions of rural areas through the formation of new cooperatives and expansion of existing ones that will result in the creation of jobs; the investment in facilities, equipment, and infrastructures; and the generation of new revenues to support local communities.
  • When necessary, utilize private consultants and other private firms, external educational institutions, and federal, state and local agencies to supplement the expertise of the program staff to develop and deliver the educational and cooperative business development programs.
  • Continue a sustainable Cooperative Development Program as part of the Product Center that will remain after the terms of the grant expire. Part of this goal is to build the sustainable capacity within the Product Center to aid in the economic development of rural areas of the state through cooperative business development.
  • Provide assistance to multiple rural groups in Michigan who desire to start cooperative businesses, and to existing cooperatives wishing to improve or expand operations.
  • Cooperate with similar Centers in other states to establish regional programs to support cooperative development.