Transition happens but the mission of rural development remains

In 2015, USDA Rural Development Director Coleen Callahan helped dedicate the Shelby Electric Cooperative solar farm with Shelby Electric President/CEO Josh Shallenberger.

With the transition to a new presidential ­administration, a good friend to rural Illinois, Illinois USDA Rural Development Director Colleen Callahan says goodbye, but despite the change for her the mission will continue. All the loan and grant programs will remain in place along with the dedicated public servants that served under Callahan. She says, “The mission won’t change and the staff of Illinois USDA Rural Development will always remain committed to the future of rural communities.”

USDA Rural Development is a financial ­facilitator. “We make possibilities, possible,” she says. “The relationships we’ve developed throughout rural Illinois help increase ­economic oppor­tunity and improve the quality of life for those who live, work and spend time there. That won’t change either.”

Working for USDA Rural Development is true public service says Callahan. “There isn’t a day goes by that we don’t help someone, somewhere, some way in rural Illinois. Since 2009, Rural Development has invested $4.2 billion with wide-ranging impact,” she says.

In 2016 alone, Illinois Rural Development ­delivered $1.2 million each and every day in rural Illinois. “And, we did it efficiently…two cents in adminis­trative cost for every ­dollar ­distributed,” Callahan says. “Knowing that these investments have paid dividends in ­helping rural Illinois get back on the road to ­recovery and growth is ­gratifying. And to know that I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from our Rural Development staff, along with elected officials, ­volunteers, homeowners, not-for-profits, ­cooperatives, community leaders and more is what makes me certain that times change and we with times, but not in the way of friendship.”