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Winter 2022 Edition
The latest economic development news and opportunities awaiting your business with the Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives of the Dairyland Power System.

Freeborn Mower Electric Cooperative Supports
Vortex Cold Storage Project

Construction is underway on the new Vortex Cold Storage facility in Albert Lea, Minn.

Freeborn Mower Electric Cooperative (Albert Lea, Minn.) recently provided a
$1 million, zero-percent interest loan to Vortex Cold Storage, LLC. The loan is part of the financing to support construction of the company's new 170,000 square foot state-of-the-art temperature controlled Safe Quality Food Certified storage facility in Albert Lea, Minn. The $31 million project will result in up to 26 new jobs. Construction of the new facility began in spring 2021.

This loan was made possible through the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Economic Development Loan Program, a competitive program available to rural utility organizations to support community and economic development projects.

Vernon Electric Cooperative Supports
Vernon Acres Assisted Living Project

Vernon Electric Cooperative's CEO & General Manager Craig Buros (left) presents
a check to representatives of Vernon County and Vernon Acres

Vernon Electric Cooperative (Westby, Wis.) recently provided a $300,000,
zero-percent interest loan to Vernon County in support of Vernon Manor's new 30,000 square feet, 32-unit assisted living facility in Viroqua, Wis. The new facility has been named Vernon Acres.

The loan was made possible through the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Economic Development Grant Program, a program available to rural utility organizations to support community and economic development projects. Upon repayment of the loan, the funds will be used to establish Vernon Electric Cooperative's revolving loan fund which can be used in support of future business and community development projects.

Redevelopment & Reuse Study:  Genoa Power Plan Site

Amanda Hoefling, Dairyland Power's Chief Member Relations & Human Resource
Officer welcomes attendees to a Community Leader Feedback Session

 Mike McCullick, Decommission & Demolition Project Engineer (front left) and Project Manager
Denise Thompson (front right) lead a site tour as part of the R&R Study 

Dairyland Power Cooperative is conducting a Redevelopment & Reuse (R&R) Study of its Genoa Power Plant Site (Genoa, Wis.) Dairyland's Genoa Station #3 coal plant was retired on June 1, 2021. With the support of a grant from the United States Economic Development Administration, the R&R Study will help identify optimal reuses of the power plant site, focused on the overall vitality of the Genoa area community while aligning with Dairyland's continued operational needs at the site.

Ady Advantage (Madison, Wis.) was selected, via request for proposal, to complete the study which included Community Leader Feedback Sessions. Approximately 20 community leaders gathered to share input regarding the community and the site. Study completion is anticipated in 2022 and will help inform Dairyland's next steps relating to the site.

Dairyland Supports Regional
Talent & Business Attraction Campaign


Senior Economic Development Specialist Jenny Kuderer-Radcliffe (far left) recently served on the Regional Talent Initiatives panel at the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce's Workforce Solutions Summit. Jenny discussed Dairyland's support and engagement with Momentum West in developing an industry and talent attraction video series. 

Momentum West, the 10-county regional economic development organization serving Western Wisconsin, recently launched a new campaign, focused on attracting business and talent to the region. Each video features the myriad of assets available to businesses and residents throughout the region. Click here to view the videos.

CHARGE EV, LLC, Welcomes New Cooperatives

The CHARGE™ brand will extend to western Iowa and southern Illinois, growing to 49 participating cooperatives, with the addition of Iowa generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives Corn Belt Power Cooperative (Humboldt, Iowa) and Le Mars-based NIPCO (Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative), as well as Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association in Murphysboro, Ill. The G&Ts’ member cooperatives will utilize the CHARGE™ brand as they build electric vehicle (EV) awareness among their consumer-members.

CHARGE™ is a national EV charging brand powered by electric cooperatives and invests in EV-focused companies. CHARGE™ cooperatives are part of a growing brand that signals a nationwide cooperation among cooperatives effort to help promote and educate members about EVs. CHARGE EV, LLC, was created in 2020 by 31 electric cooperatives throughout Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin to help promote EV adoption. As electric cooperatives partner with other companies within the EV industry, CHARGE™ will expand its national charging network throughout rural America. This network will also reveal the hidden gems that are our local communities to EV drivers and their passengers. Electric cooperatives serve more than 42 million people across 48 states. Click here for additional information.

Development Opportunities

Mona Rail Site
Mona/ St. Ansgar, Iowa

  • 400 acres available for development
  • Rail:  Dual Access -- Canadian National Railroad and Canadian Pacific are located on the east and west edges of the property
  • Highway Transportation:  Located along Hwy 218; 13 miles to Interstate 90 and 24.5 miles to Interstate 35
  • Location:  Just south of the Iowa/Minnesota border; 13 miles south of Austin, Minn., and 8 miles north of St. Ansgar, Iowa
  • Additional Information

Economic Development Toolbox

Dairy Business Builder Grant Program

Small- to medium-sized dairy farmers, entrepreneurs, and processors in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin can apply for a new, $1 million round of grants administered by the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA). Eligible projects will include dairy farm diversification, the creation of value-added dairy products, and efforts to market dairy products for export. Reimbursement grants of up to $50,000 each will be awarded through a competitive review process.

The Dairy Business Builder grant competition opens February 1, 2022 when applications will be available for download. Completed applications will be due March 31, 2022. Click here for additional information.

Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program

The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program is a part of USDA’s Build Back Better initiative to strengthen critical supply chains and our food system. This program guarantees loans of up to $40 million for qualified lenders to finance food systems projects, specifically for the start-up or expansion of activities in the middle of the food supply chain. The program will support new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and distribution to increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse, and secure U.S. food supply chain. Click here for additional information.

COVID-19 Business & Economic Development Resources

Visit our website to find information and resources related to COVID-19. 

Community Development Corner

Resource Guide to Strengthen & Expand Child Care Facilities 
in Rural Communities


Economic Development Loan Program
available through your Touchstone Energy
® Cooperative

Who We Are
The Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives of the Dairyland Power System provide power to homes, farms and businesses in western Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa and northwest Illinois.  These 24 electric cooperatives are owned and governed by the member-consumers they serve.  For more information about our cooperatives and the community and economic development services we provide, contact us. 
Community & Economic Development Team
Craig Harmes
Manager, Community & Economic Development

Jenny Kuderer-Radcliffe
Senior Economic Development Specialist

Donna Walker
Senior Economic Development Specialist
Dairyland Power is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer.
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