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News Release
Release No. STELPRD4014948
ContactJoan Messina217-403-6248
Printable Version  Printable Version

Champaign, Jan 23, 2012 -- Contact: Joan Messina (217) 403-6248

Cell: (217) 871-3702

Rural Development—Living up to the Lincoln Legacy

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live in it so that his place will be proud of him.” Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln said those words in reference to a “hometown.” And Rural Development is proud to serve the people of rural Illinois, and help support communities in which we’re all proud to live!

So it’s appropriate that we, at USDA Rural Development, share Lincoln’s insights during this 150th Anniversary of the United States Department of Agriculture. It was President Lincoln, after all, who established USDA!

I believe that Lincoln would be proud of the efforts of USDA Rural Development in his home state…150 years later, using its resources to give rural citizens the opportunity to be proud of the places in which they live. We continue today to be committed to the future of rural communities and the hundreds of hometowns throughout the Land of Lincoln.

We are helping our Illinois hometowns build bridges to the future by investing in their maintenance and improvements. This past fiscal year, Illinois’ USDA Rural Development financial partnerships helped meet community, business and home needs by investing $698 million in Rural Illinois. We delivered on average $1.9 million each day at an administrative cost of only 1.8 cents for every dollar awarded!

Rural businesses utilized $36 million in support from USDA, an investment that leveraged 78 percent in additional funds. Another $49 million was awarded to rural communities and non-profits to create opportunities for local businesses to start or expand.

More than 5,300 families used Rural Development financing options to purchase their first homes or upgrade to better homes. We supported 585 rural rental complexes and homes in rural Illinois (that’s nearly 11,000 residences). Sixty-one percent of those are homes for seniors and the disabled.

This past year we funded community improvement projects benefitting 85,131 rural residents, brought safe water to 13,700 rural families, and invested $90 million in rural broadband.

The most important result of USDA Rural Development’s 2011 investments in rural businesses, communities and housing is the people we help. That, too, is the legacy of Abraham Lincoln who called USDA “The People’s Agency.”

In 1862, about half of all Americans lived on farms, compared to about two percent today. But through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills Lincoln’s vision by touching the lives of every American, every day.

While we don’t have all the answers or all the resources to meet the current needs, we continue to have guidance from Mr. Lincoln as it relates to progress: “I’m a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.” We do our best at USDA Rural Development to live up to President Lincoln’s expectations…150 years later, and into the future!


~Colleen Callahan

State Director

USDA Rural Development

Rural Development has more than 40 programs that foster growth and economic stability in rural areas by providing affordable financing and technical assistance. Support is available for regional food systems, broadband and biofuel infrastructure, homeownership, business development and community needs. More information on USDA Rural Development programs is available on the web at


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Last Modified:11/29/2012 
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