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Federated REA gets $740,000 loan from USDA

Eric Fisher, director for AGCO Jackson Operations, announces a planned facilities expansion of 75,000 square feet, which will create more than 100 jobs. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

JACKSON -- Federated Rural Electric of Jackson has been awarded a $740,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development office to aid in the expansion of the AGCO facility in Jackson.

The financing is provided through Rural Development's Rural Economic Development Loan program, and was awarded to Federated Rural Electric as the borrower. The 10-year, 0-interest loan will assist AGCO in the completion of a 73,000-square-foot addition and creation of a visitor's center.

Federated Rural Electric general manager Richard Burud said Thursday the cooperative has participated in four or five of these loans in the past to advance job creation and retention in Federated's service area. In fact, the rural electric cooperative received the first Rural Economic Development Loan in the nation in the early 1990s -- that was to help bring Northwest Mutual Life Insurance to Jackson.

"It's a pretty popular program for creating jobs in rural areas," Burud said.

The USDA loan program is available only to rural utilities program borrowers who agree to be a pass-through to local businesses and organizations for projects that create and retain jobs, upgrade public infrastructure, improve service delivery and improve the quality of life for area residents and visitors.

The AGCO project is expected to create approximately 100 jobs.

"Electric and telephone cooperatives (in Minnesota) have given out more of these loans than any other state in the Union," Burud said.

Since 2009, Minnesota utility cooperatives have utilized nearly $8 million in Rural Economic Development loan and grant funds.

Burud said notification was received Wednesday from the USDA that the funds were being made available to the cooperative for AGCO.

"Economic development of the region helps everybody," he said.

While AGCO's electric utility needs are supplied by the city of Jackson, Burud said a lot of the employees who work there live in rural communities served by Federated Rural Electric.

"We think it's important to be involved in economic development and this is one way we can do it," Burud said.

Colleen Landkamer, USDA Rural Development state director, said in a press release that Rural Development is proud to partner with Federated Rural Electric on the AGCO project.

"Local investments like this one create jobs and bolster the rural economy," Landkamer said. "Public-private partnerships also play a key role in helping Minnesota's rural communities win the future."

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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