A Publication of WTVP

Local communities get a helping hand and economic boost from USDA Rural Development.

“I’m with the federal government and I’m here to help.” When I say that to an audience at the beginning of a presentation about USDA Rural Development programs, I get the expected response… polite laughter. But after I give examples of the work we do and conclude the presentation with the same line, no one laughs. While I will not get to see the response of those who read this article, I hope it is the same.

USDA Rural Development is here to help. Our investments in rural communities support the rural way of life by being a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families. Rural Development’s active loan portfolio of $3.5 billion in Illinois includes support for the following areas:

  1. Regional food systems
  2. Broadband
  3. Biofuel infrastructure
  4. Homeownership
  5. Business development
  6. Community needs.

Business development is a crucial part of what we do. The following examples demonstrate just exactly how Rural Development actively helps create and sustain rural job opportunities and entrepreneurial efforts in rural Illinois communities:

These projects were funded through just four of Rural Development’s 40 programs, but they best exemplify the positive difference our business programs can make on rural economies. So when I say “I’m with the federal government and I’m here to help,” I mean it. And I am hopeful that instead of laughter, you consider contacting Rural Development to inquire as to how we might help your community in the near future. Because Rural Development is here to help! iBi

Colleen Callahan is the Illinois state director for Rural Development at the USDA. Visit to learn more about Rural Development and its programs.