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USDA Invests $34.9 Million to Support Local Businesses, Create Good-Paying Jobs and Strengthen the Economy in Illinois

Chris Hart
Release Date
Feb 03, 2022

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Director Betsy Dirksen Londrigan today announced the Department is investing $34.9 million to help a diverse rural Illinois keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance.

“Agricultural commodities and ag-related industries are the cornerstone of Illinois’ economy but too often the benefits from these businesses go to larger cities instead of being invested back into rural communities," Dirksen Londrigan said. USDA Rural Development is committed to changing that paradigm and adding value and resources to our neighbors, friends, and family in rural communities. Today's announcement underlines the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to helping transform the economy and bring high-paying jobs and economic opportunities to the communities and people in rural Illinois who are the engine driving our state forward."

The funding announced today is part of a package that will help people and businesses in diverse communities and industries throughout 49 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. It will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. And it will help entrepreneurs, business cooperatives and farmers in nearly every state create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for the items they produce.

For example, in Illinois:

  • Farm King Supply, LLC will use a $16,000,000 Business and Industry Loan Guarantee to provide additional financing for Farm King Supply LLC and its co-borrowers, FKS Enterprises Inc. (parent company) and Azelia Company LLC (real estate holding company). Additionally, $1,350,000 of loan proceeds will provide the borrowers with working capital and cover loan fees and costs. Farm King Supply LLC operates six farm/outdoors-based big box retail stores in Burlington, Iowa, and the Illinois communities of Macomb, Galesburg, Kewanee, Canton, and Monmouth. They have a headquarters facility and a former store/storage facility in Macomb. The refinance of existing loans will remove balloon payments from the notes to be refinanced, and it will result in a reduction of required loan payments by approximately $370,213 per month. This financing will help stabilize the borrowers' cash flow, which will assist them in retaining the 218 full-time equivalent jobs they currently provide to the rural communities in which they are located. The borrower is contributing matching funds to this project to pay for appraisal reports and environmental studies.


  • Wilson Nurseries, Inc. will use a $2,850,000 Business and Industry Loan Guarantee to restructure the existing debt of the co-borrowers and provide funds for a small number of closing costs associated with the loan. Wilson Nurseries Inc. operates a wholesale commercial nursery and distribution yard that grows and sells a full line of exterior landscaping plants, shrubs, and trees. The related co-borrowing entity, Wilson Landscape Supply Inc., is a wholesale distributor of landscaping supplies and materials. The other two co-borrowing entities are real estate holding companies; these businesses have several locations throughout the Chicago suburb area. Still, the loan to be refinanced with a Rural Development guaranteed loan was initially used for assets located at its rural location in Hampshire, Illinois. The guaranteed loan funding will provide a longer repayment term and a lower interest rate than the loan to be refinanced, which will reduce debt service requirements by approximately 47 percent. This refinance will help the business preserve cash flow, and its employees will earn an average wage rate of over $20 per hour. The other funds will be used for additional refinancing, real estate purchases, equipment, and working capital.


  • Stumpy's Spirits Co. will use a $250,000 Value-Added Producer grant to provide working capital funds to sell a variety of distilled spirits made with grain grown on their family farm. They will be matching the $250,000 in grant funds with $210,419 in cash and $39,581 in in-kind contributions. Funds will be used to cover various working capital expenses such as utilities, barrels, ingredients, malt, and labor associated with increased production necessary to fulfill planned market expansions. This award will expand the customer base in new markets not previously served.


  • Southern Five Development Corporation will use a $8,935 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program grant to capitalize a Rural Microloan Revolving Fund to make microloans to rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. Rural Development grant funds will be used to provide technical assistance and training to rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. The Corporation’s rural market includes 5 counties designated as Delta Regional Authority communities which are characterized by high unemployment rates and high poverty.

For the other 10 recipients, please reach out to the Public Affairs Officer, Chris Hart at chris.w.hart@usda.gov

USDA Secretary Vilsack highlighted 751 investments that USDA is making in eight programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees, which provided record-breaking investments in fiscal year 2021, and the B&I CARES Act Program, which has helped create thousands of jobs with funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Programs also include Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grants, Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, Intermediary Relending Program and Value-Added Producer Grants.

These programs are part of a suite of business and cooperative services that are projected to help create or save more than 50,000 jobs in rural America through investments made in fiscal year 2021.

The awards Vilsack announced today are being made in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that will support key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help rural America build back better and stronger. Key priorities include combating the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.