USDA helps two Illinois co-ops with rural economic development

The Carthage, Ill., facility, referred to as Maple Grove Apartments, gives patients with dementia and other cognitive issues a home-like and family-oriented environment with a small number of residents per building and central common areas for socializing and meals.

The Carthage, Ill., facility, referred to as Maple Grove Apartments, gives patients with dementia and other cognitive issues a home-like and family-oriented environment with a small number of residents per building and central common areas for socializing and meals.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in October announced $12.5 million in loans and grants for 39 ­projects that will help rural businesses in 21 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Two of the projects are in Illinois electric ­cooperative territories.

“Supporting small, rural businesses helps create jobs and helps promote entrepreneurship,” Vilsack said. “USDA Rural Development’s field structure enables our community-based staff to engage with local partners and, in turn, enables these partners to provide their local small businesses and start-ups access to the capital and tech­nical assistance they need to be competitive in today’s global economy.”

USDA is awarding $12.5 ­million in loans and grants through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program, the Intermediary Relending Program (IRP), the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program, and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). The loans and grants are often made through local electric cooperatives.

Norris Electric Cooperative in Newton, Ill., will receive a $102,845 Rural Economic Development loan to finance the construction of an office and warehouse for a seed and chemical sales business. Building the 9,600-square-foot facility will enable the business to begin hiring now and plan for future job creation over the next five years. “Ag Underground is a locally-based and independently-owned source of agricultural inputs including seed, ­chemicals and fertilizer,” says Tim Bohnoff, Member Services Coordinator for Norris Electric. The facility will be located along Route 40 west of Greenup, Ill.

USDA Rural Development also awarded the Hancock County Senior Services Association a $1 million Rural Economic Development loan, a $300,000 Rural Economic Development grant and a $2.2 million Community Facilities loan to build an assisted-living facility that uses the new “small house” model. Western Illinois Electrical Coop. assisted and helped make the grant and loan ­possible.

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