Resource Directory

Rural Economic Development

Resources and Grants for Rural Communities

Whether you’re an individual, a business or a community organization, you can use the directory below to search a vast library of resources, tools and services. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), its economic development partners and other organizations around the state offer a range of resources on all aspects of economic well-being, from childcare and education to businesses and housing. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Reach out to us directly, we want to help.

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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Business

    Business & Industry Loan Guarantees in Wisconsin

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    This program provides loan guarantees to commercial lenders for loans to eligible rural businesses.

  • Agriculture, Business, Food & Beverage

    Farmers Market Promotion Program

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The Farmers Market Promotion Program funds projects that develop, coordinate and expand direct producer-to-consumer markets to help increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products.

  • Agriculture, Food & Beverage

    Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program provides financial support to qualified lenders whose loan applicants want to start or expand middle of the food supply chain activities such as aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesale, or distribution of food.

  • Agriculture, Business, Food & Beverage

    Local Food Promotion Program

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The Local Food Promotion Program funds projects that develop, coordinate and expand local and regional food business enterprises that engage as intermediaries in indirect producer to consumer marketing to help increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products.

  • Agriculture, Forestry & Paper, Veterans

    Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Popularly referred to as the 2501 Program, this program ensures underserved and veteran farmers, ranchers, and foresters get needed resources to support a successful farming operation and increase profits.

  • Business

    Rural Business-Cooperative Service

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service offers programs to help businesses grow as well as job training for people living in rural areas.

  • Economic Development, Housing, Other

    Rural Community Development Initiative Grants

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    RCDI grants are awarded to help non-profit housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and federally recognized tribes support housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects in rural areas.

  • Business

    Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The Rural Cooperative Development Grant program improves the economic condition of rural areas by helping individuals and businesses start, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses through Cooperative Development Centers

  • Agriculture, Arts & Culture, Business, Economic Development, Parks & Outdoor Recreation

    Rural Development: Key Priorities

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Priority Points, also referred to as discretionary points, are additional points added to an established scoring criterion that USDA Rural Development uses to help determine which projects qualify for funding. Awarding extra points (i.e. priority points) raises a project’s score, which in turn improves the chances of a project being scored high enough to warrant a funding award. The flexibility related to these kinds of points varies, depending on regulations language.

  • Business, Economic Development, Start-Up & Entrepreneur, Workforce

    Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations.

  • Agriculture, Energy, Sustainability

    Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.

  • Arts & Culture, Broadband & Internet, Economic Development, Housing, Parks & Outdoor Recreation, Transportation

    Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge provides cooperative agreement funds to help provide planning support, technical assistance, and training to foster placemaking activities in rural communities.

  • Housing

    Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Also known as the Section 502 Direct Loan Program, this program assists low- and very-low-income applicants obtain decent, safe and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability.

  • Housing

    Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Also known as the Section 504 Home Repair program, it provides loans to very-low-income homeowners to repair, improve, or modernize their homes, or provides grants to elderly, very-low-income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards.

  • Broadband & Internet, Business, Economic Development, Start-Up & Entrepreneur, Workforce

    Stronger Together-Joint Planning Resource Guide

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Federal funding and planning strategies designed to promote sustainable economic development in rural America

  • Broadband & Internet, Business

    Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans & Loan Guarantees

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The loan and loan guarantee program offers financial assistance to eligible service providers that will construct, improve, or expand telecommunication and broadband networks in rural areas.

  • Child Care, Economic Development, Education & Schools, Food & Beverage, Health & Mental Health, Other

    USDA Community Facilities Program

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Community Facilities Programs offer direct loans, loan guarantees and grants to develop or improve essential public services and facilities in communities across rural America. These amenities help increase the competitiveness of rural communities in attracting and retaining businesses that provide employment and services for their residents.

  • Agriculture, Arts & Culture, Broadband & Internet, Child Care, Economic Development, Housing, Parks & Outdoor Recreation, Workforce

    USDA Funding Eligibility Map

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    USDA's mapping tool that allows the user to determine if their project is in an eligible area for funding.

  • Agriculture, Arts & Culture, Business, Child Care, Economic Development, Parks & Outdoor Recreation, Workforce

    USDA Resource Guides

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    List of resource guides from USDA

  • Agriculture, Business, Economic Development, Energy, Food & Beverage

    USDA Rural Development Business Programs

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    USDA's Business Programs provide financial backing and technical assistance to stimulate business creation and growth.

  • Broadband & Internet

    USDA Rural Development Community Connect Grants

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The Community Connect provides financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide broadband service in rural, economically-challenged communities where service does not exist.

  • Broadband & Internet

    USDA Rural Development Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grants

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The Distance Learning and Telemedicine program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density.

  • Agriculture, Energy, Sustainability

    USDA Rural Development Energy Programs

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Funding to complete energy audits, provide renewable energy development assistance, make energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems.

  • Housing

    USDA Rural Development Multifamily Housing Programs

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Multifamily Housing assists rural property owners through loans, loan guarantees, and grants that enable owners to develop and rehabilitate properties for low-income, elderly, and disabled individuals and families as well as domestic farm laborers.

  • Broadband & Internet

    USDA Rural Development ReConnect Loan and Grant Program

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    The ReConnect Loan and Grant Program furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. The application window is now closed. Follow one of the links below to learn more about the program.

  • Housing

    USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Programs

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Programs give families and individuals the opportunity to buy, build, or repair affordable homes located in rural America.

  • Economic Development, Parks & Outdoor Recreation, Sustainability

    USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Programs

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Through Rural Utilities Service Water and Environmental Programs (WEP), rural communities obtain the technical assistance and financing necessary to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems. Safe drinking water and sanitary waste disposal systems are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of rural America. Rural Development is a leader in helping rural America improve the quality of life and increase the economic opportunities for rural people.

  • Economic Development, Workforce

    USDA Rural Workforce Guide

    U.S. Department of Agriculture

    This guide was created for community leaders and other local entities to help them access resources to create jobs, train talent, expand educational opportunities and provide technical assistance .