Washington, D.C. – Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made a rural development investment of $200,000 to the Illinois Cooperative Development Center, which is housed within the Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University. The funding will be used to provide a variety of technical assistance for rural cooperatives across Illinois.

“Investing in rural communities across Illinois’ 18th District will help grow local economies, bolster small businesses, and retain talent in rural areas,” stated Rep. LaHood. “This award is a testament to the hard work done at WIU, and I applaud Secretary Perdue and the Trump Administration for supporting local cooperatives in our community. I will continue to work with them to support rural businesses in Illinois.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Cooperative Development Grants program aims to improve economic conditions in rural communities, help kickstart local businesses, or improve rural cooperatives. The focus of this rural development grant funding will be to 1) help develop cooperatively-owned grocery stores in small, rural communities, 2) develop cooperatively-owned community solar projects in rural communities to allow rural residents to lower utility costs, and 3) explore the possibility of developing cooperative housing projects, so aging residents can remain in their communities.