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Compeer Financial and CEDA Partner on Rural Vitality


For Immediate Release


Nora Nolden, Communications Consultant

[email protected] or (651) 245-6804




Compeer Financial and CEDA Partner on Rural Vitality



Sun Prairie, Wis., (February 15, 2023)  Compeer Financial, a Farm Credit cooperative based in the upper Midwest, has partnered with Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) on efforts to bring vitality to rural communities.

At the start of 2023, Compeer Financial made a formal commitment toward furthering the strength of rural communities. 

“Compeer Financial already invests in rural healthcare, entrepreneurs and education through many of our current programs,” said John Monson, chief mission officer at Compeer Financial. “But we know there’s an incredible opportunity to help more communities move from just surviving to fully thriving. CEDA is already pursuing a lot of this important work and we are ecstatic about this partnership.”

CEDA is a non-profit organization that was established in 1986 with the mission of supporting rural communities. Their focus areas include community support programs, small business assistance, grant writing, administration service and community planning and development. 

Compeer Financial plans to perform exploratory work to learn about the needs of rural communities, and implement pilot projects in two communities in Compeer’s territory that encompasses 144 counties in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Compeer and CEDA will work together on information sharing and pilot program execution. 

While Compeer’s focus as a Farm Credit cooperative has been in financial services to the agriculture industry, Monson says that agriculture depends on rural communities to succeed. 

“Learning and listening are just as important at the onset as doing,” said Monson. “Maybe it’s broadband, maybe it’s infrastructure, maybe workforce training, maybe it’s leadership and coaching. We start by learning, then apply these lessons, prioritize our investments and partnerships.

“Our work is centered on the belief that rural communities are full of innovation and inspiration,” said Courtney Bergey Swanson, vice president of development and collaborative services at CEDA. “We aim to work alongside these communities to help catalyze positive momentum. That means building relationships and trust, understanding their needs and working together toward their goals. We are excited to work in partnership with Compeer Financial to dive even deeper into this work and determine how rural communities can thrive in the future.”

CEDA’s Rural Business Innovation Lab is an example of one way to engage with rural businesses. The program provides support for rural entrepreneurs who might be geographically isolated from some of the resources that are helpful to businesses and startups. The three-year program involves peer networking, assistance with access to capital, applying for grants and establishing a robust business plan. 

“At CEDA, we like to think we have the eyes and ears on the ground in rural communities to find missing links where we can,” said Bergey Swanson.

“We are excited to develop a strong strategy that can serve as a model across the nation when it comes to bolstering the vitality of rural America,” said Monson. “We have a lot of opportunity ahead of us to make an impact.”


About Compeer Financial
 Compeer Financial is a member-owned Farm Credit cooperative serving and supporting agriculture and rural communities. The $2
8.1 billion organization provides loans, leases, risk management and other financial services throughout 144 counties in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Based in the Upper Midwest, Compeer Financial exists to champion the hopes and dreams of rural America, while providing personalized service and expertise to clients and the agriculture industry.

Compeer Financial is the third largest cooperative of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of lending institutions supporting agriculture and rural communities with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. Learn more about Compeer Financial.


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