RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley received two federal grants Wednesday morning.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) presented both a Rural Cooperative Development grant and a Socially Disadvantaged Groups grant to the university.

The grants allow the UTRGV Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Advancement (SATA) to work with small businesses and farmers to help make their businesses more sustainable.

“We help them form cooperatives to address some of those issues,” said Colin Cain, Executive Director of Rural and Business Development at UTRGV.

Cain added common issues small businesses and farmers come across are scale issues and market inefficiencies while having the inability to access credit and certain specialized equipment.

“Then we help individual members of those cooperatives manage their businesses more effectively and more efficiently so they can become individually sustainable producers that then help form stronger, long-term sustainable cooperatives.”