Gift from farm credit groups supports rural entrepreneurship programs in Minnesota and Wisconsin
Two farm credit associations – Compeer Financial and AgCountry Farm Credit Services – contributed $400,000 across four years to make the joint program possible.
ST. PAUL — Rural entrepreneurship in Wisconsin and Minnesota will get a boost from a newly created program in the Extension programs at the states’ land grant universities.
The rural entrepreneurship program was announced in a news release this week by University of Wisconsin Extension Dean Karl Martin and University of Minnesota Extension Dean Beverly Durgan. Two farm credit associations — Compeer Financial and AgCountry Farm Credit Services — contributed $400,000 across four years to make the joint program possible.
The new program will build upon research and outreach capabilities of Extension. The program will create and build linkages in entrepreneurial networks, improve the availability and use of resources to entrepreneurs, create opportunities for entrepreneurs and develop the skills necessary for success in the modern rural economy.
“There’s great energy around starting new businesses in our states, but in rural locations there are unique challenges, too, ranging from financing to broadband and child care,” said Durgan in a news release.
“Communities succeed when ideas for businesses can grow into thriving realities. This funding will help the land-grant universities bring our strengths to the table to help,” Martin said. “This new outreach is only the beginning and we plan to expand offerings and service.”
“As a cooperative serving and supporting rural communities, we see the value entrepreneurs bring to rural economies,” said John Monson, chief mission and marketing officer at Compeer Financial. “This program will champion those individuals who are bringing innovative ideas to rural America.”
“We know there is a lot of potential for additional rural entrepreneurs to step up when the right resources are available,” said Troy Andreasen, chief marketplace officer at AgCountry. “This is an investment in the future vitality of rural communities across our great states.”
The joint program will include hiring of new staff, as well as formation of an advisory group to help guide its efforts. The program builds upon the capacity of the Center for Community Vitality at University of Minnesota Extension and the Community Economic Development program at UW-Madison Extension.