Hancock County Economic Development receives Illinois Farm Bureau rural development grant

HCED grant

Samantha Harnack, left, executive director HCED and Brian Stevens, Hancock County Farm Bureau board president. | Photo courtesy of Hancock County Economic Development

CARTHAGE, Ill. — Hancock County Economic Development was awarded $3,000 from the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) for the “Taste of Hancock County” event which will highlight local companies within Hancock County and give them a chance to promote what they have to offer.

Taste of Hancock County is one of 10 projects from across the state that was awarded a rural development grant. IFB policy places rural development as one of the organization’s top priorities, and IFB awarded $30,000 in its first year of the grant program, which is anticipated to return in 2025.

The program provides resources, tools and support to help local communities and counties overcome challenges inherent in rural development projects, such as lack of funding and volunteers, complicated grant applications and other situations.

In its pilot year, IFB’s grants invested in programs elevating agritourism, access to fresh foods, health and wellness, ag education and more. In selecting grants, IFB searches for projects that will meet a need in a community, county or rural area and get residents excited about what is happening in their community.

In a press release, Ryan Tate, IFB associate director of local government, said, “Illinois Farm Bureau is proud to support these outstanding projects throughout the state. In the program’s first year, we have set a strong foundation for investing in rural communities, and we look forward to seeing it grow in the years ahead.”

In addition to the grant program, IFB’s Local Government team has fostered rural development through conferences, publications and engagement with other organizations, such as the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, Rural Partners, the Illinois Rural Health Association, USDA Rural Development and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.

Applications for the 2025 rural development grants are expected to open in September. For more information on the grant program, visit ilfb.org/rdgrants.

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