Foster a Strong Rural Economy

We recognize that our rural economy is a complex system made up of private and public components, so we work with individuals, communities, organizations, and agencies to build and enhance as many components of that system as possible while connecting them through honest dialog, partnerships, and expertise. We foster economic development initiatives and projects that build on the characteristics that make Northeast Iowa unique. This includes providing technical assistance to entrepreneurs who want to start or expand natural resource based businesses or value-added agricultural businesses. It also includes helping plan and secure funding so Northeast Iowa’s communities and counties can build and enhance public infrastructure.

Over the past 15 years Northeast Iowa RC&D has helped start-up or expand over 75 small businesses, providing assistance with business planning, market analysis, branding, marketing, and funding. We have helped county conservation boards and communities plan and secure funding for over 100 miles of land trails and helped develop four water trails. Our organization has helped counties conduct research to capture methane gas from landfills and helped establish recycling centers. We have assisted county conservation boards to obtain funding to expand and enhance dozens of parks that protect natural and cultural resources as well as funding for public restrooms and shelters. By securing funding for child care facilities, community centers, fire trucks and safety equipment, dry hydrants, swimming pools, and stormwater runoff infrastructure, we are helping our communities improve or expand their services and thus their populations at a time when other rural communites are dying. To maximize opportunities, we also help start other nonprofits, and when possible, we launch regional initiatives that give us the opportunity to help several communities and/or counties at the same time. Our ability to provide technical assistance at all levels and scales of the economy, to plan, and then work with partners to implement those plans, differentiates us from other planning organizations. It also gives our communities and region a technical advantage over other rural areas.

Eleven farmers across Northeast Iowa participated in the 2012 Farmers Market Promotion Program through funds from the Farmers Market Promotion Program secured by the Iowa League of RC&Ds.   For this project, 11 producers were selected to have a professional photographer visit their farm.  They were...

Northeast Iowa RC&D was awarded an Iowa Community Cultural Grant to photograph and feature northeast Iowa's historic, cultural and art attractions on the new www.visitiowa.org website. This website is hosted by the Northeast Iowa Tourism Association and provides travelers with rich information on what to...

This project helped an entrepreneur start a new business, Chairshop, which will utilize sustainably harvested forest products in the construction of high-end chairs for sale to an international niche market. Most of the handcrafted chairs made at Chairshop will be marketed through a national collective, The...

This project will develop a new business, Grass Run Farm Inc, to process, market and deliver grass-fed beef and hogs from three family farms that manage livestock using chemical-free, grass-based methods to reduce environmental impact. The business model has great significance in Northeast Iowa and other areas where thousands of acres of highly erodible land, once in pasture or CRP have been, or are, being converted to row crop. 100% grass-fed beef production is a low impact agriculture practice that can restore abused farm ground.