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USDA Rural Development Invests $3 Million to Expand Market Opportunities for Rural Businesses and Entrepreneurs in Illinois

Jenny Warning
Release Date

CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Dec. 08, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Illinois State Director Betsy Dirksen Londrigan today announced that the Department is investing $2.8 million to help create new and better market opportunities and expand essential services for rural people, businesses and entrepreneurs in Illinois.

“Investments in rural businesses, producers and entrepreneurs are investments to strengthen and grow communities as we continue to bounce back economically in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic,” Dirksen Londrigan said. “Whether it’s a long-time business or a start-up, Rural Development is here to help. These partnerships are a testament to USDA’s commitment to supporting rural entrepreneurship, creativity and business development that will ultimately grow rural Illinois.”

Funding provided for today’s investments will help keep resources and wealth made by rural people right at home through affordable financing and technical assistance. It will help start businesses and allow small business owners to grow throughout rural Illinois. It will also open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. 

For example:

  • The Hickory Kerton Water Co-Op will use a $1,225,000 loan through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantee Program in partnership with Rushville State Bank to restructure six direct loans with Rural Development. The water cooperative provides safe potable water to 906 rural users throughout Schuyler County, Illinois.
  • Rochester Financial Group LLC will use a $1,294,500 loan through the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program to purchase the Country Classic Cars dealership in Staunton, Illinois. The project will play a critical role in allowing the dealership to remain open under new ownership as the seller retires. The project will save eight jobs within the community.
  • Wier Brothers Lawn Care LLC will use a $123,400 loan through the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program to build a new shed for their growing business in Kinderhook, Illinois. The project will allow the recipient to operate their business and store all equipment in the same facility. The project will also create three new jobs within the area.
  • Southern Five Development Corporation will use a $9,500 grant through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program to capitalize a revolving loan fund that provides microloans to rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises.
  • Southern Illinois Coal Belt Champion will use a $112,800 grant through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program to provide technical assistance and training to rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises in 11 counties designated as Delta Regional Authority communities. The project will help focus on business development in areas with higher poverty and unemployment rates.


Today’s announcement is in coordination with nationwide investments recently announced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, of $981 million to help rural people, businesses and entrepreneurs in 47 states, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

USDA is making 242 awards nationwide through eight programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are the Biofuel Producer Relief Payments ProgramBusiness and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program, Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, Rural Innovation Stronger Economy Grants program, the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program and the Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantees.

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/il. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.