Illinois State Director
Colleen Callahan


"What would Lincoln think?" I asked myself that as we celebrated the 150th anniversary of USDA during 2012. You see, the United States Department of Agriculture was established by Abraham Lincoln. He referred to it as :The People’s Department." So I have wondered "What would Lincoln think," 150 years later, about the evolution of the department he envisioned.

It's important to acknowledge Lincoln's definition of government. "The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities." Knowing how Lincoln viewed the purpose of government, I believe Lincoln would be proud of how USDA Rural Development continues to serve through "The People's Department."

USDA Rural Development in Illinois operates federal funding programs designed to strengthen rural businesses, finance new and improved rural housing, develop community facilities and support development of water and waste disposal systems, telecommunications and utilities that serve people in rural Illinois through guaranteed loans, direct loans and grants.

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Website Welcome

Our website reflects the more than 40 programs that offer financial assistance to bring positive change to our rural areas throughout Illinois.

What our website does not reflect is the sincere dedication that each of our nearly 100 employees brings to every potential project. You will experience that only after you contact any one of us who hopes to work with you.

Rural Development not only helps individuals, but many of our programs allow us to improve entire communities. We can help make possibilities possible!

So, thank you for visiting our website. I encourage you now to travel through the tabs. Then contact us so that we can begin the journey of becoming partners in increasing economic opportunity and improving the quality of life for Illinois' rural residents. And afterwards, I hope you will ask yourself, What would Lincoln think?

Colleen Callahan