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October 16, 2015
USDA Accepts Applications to Fund Alternative Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects
November 2 Deadline for Energy Projects Under $20,000

USDA is accepting Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) applications for: 1) loans and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements, and 2) grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. REAP applications are accepted continuously, and the next funding deadline for grants of $20,000 and less is Nov. 2, 2015. To learn more visit the USDA website at or contact Mark Williams, Energy Coordinator for USDA Rural Development Nevada  at (775) 887-1222, Ext. 116.

National Cooperatives Month
October is National Cooperatives Month! Check out the Illinois Cooperative Development Center (ICDC) at the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. ICDC helps cooperatives and other businesses in rural Illinois start up and succeed, through technical assistance, training, and publications. Assistance is delivered through a combination of Center staff, partner cooperative development agencies, and paid consultants, and is available free of charge. Cooperatives in all sectors are eligible for assistance, though the Center has particular expertise in value-added and sustainable agriculture, local foods, and renewable energy
Guiding Principles for State Rural Development Councils (SRDC)
Illinois Rural Partners and State Rural Development Councils around the country are active and successful because of their broad membership support and good leadership, but also because of sound guiding principles in their authorization legislation in the 2002, 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills. For example:
  • SRDCs include representation from all agencies, organizations and individuals who are dedicated to enhancing economic and social opportunities for rural citizens.
  • Support and participation of each state’s Governor. In Illinois, the Office of the Lt. Governor has been an active partner for years.
  • Participation in SRDC decisions and operations shall be open to all who wish to participate.
  • SRDCs shall be open, neutral environments where all participants’ voices can be heard and where major decisions are reached, whenever possible, through consensus. Illinois Rural Partners is a neutral, nonpartisan, legally incorporated not for profit corporation.
  • SRDCs strive to receive financial and other support from diverse sources to be free from control from any single individual or organization. Illinois Rural Partners is solely dependent on membership dues to support its activities.
  • All SRDCs participate in the nationwide network of SRDCs known as Partners for Rural America. Illinois Rural Partners is current on its dues to PRA and actively participates in national initiatives. Jerry Townsend is current board chair of PRA.
Find more information about Illinois Rural Partners, including how to join, at
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