Skip to main content

colleen landkamer

Under Secretary Highlights USDA Job Promotion Efforts in Albert Lea, Minnesota

What started as a small operation almost 40 years ago has grown into major contributor to the economy in Albert Lea, Minn.

Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, Inc., started on Dec. 4, 1973, in a building that occupied 1,100 square feet. Today, Mrs. Gerry’s is adding a 36,500 square-foot addition that will bring its building to over 100,000 square feet and help meet growing customer demand for its real (no flaky stuff here) mashed potatoes and other products.

USDA Support Helps Build Feed Mill, Boosts Small Businesses in Southwestern Minnesota

As construction crews were busy putting the finishing touches on New Vision Co-op’s new grain elevator and feed mill in Magnolia, Minn., last month, USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer and other area leaders visited the site to highlight the economic impact of the project.

“This investment by USDA means jobs and economic development opportunities,” Landkamer said.

USDA and Habitat for Humanity Partnership Builds Home for Rural Minnesota Family

A unique partnership between USDA Rural Development and Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County, Minn., (HFHDC) has helped make Cassandra Braford a proud new homeowner.

Braford, a waitress, recently moved into her home in Alexandria, Minn., with her children, Ramsey and Riyada, and her mother, Jean. The home was financed through USDA Rural Development’s direct home loan program. Braford built her home in partnership with HFHDC.

USDA Rural Development Hosts Rural Energy for America Program Roundtable in Minnesota

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has helped 512 rural small businesses and farmers install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

On Tuesday, April 10, about 40 of those farmers and small business owners gathered in Mankato, Minn., to discuss the REAP program during a roundtable featuring Senator Al Franken and USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer.

Rural Energy for America Program Helps a Minnesota Lumber Company Cut Energy Costs

John Miller got the call at 12:45 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2007.

Freeborn Lumber Company – the business John’s grandfather bought in 1946 and John purchased from his father in 1986 – was burning to the ground.  Less than 30 minutes later, the nearly 100-year-old building was destroyed. Lightning struck a phone line next to a gas line and that was it. Firefighters arrived less than five minutes after getting called, but there was nothing they could do.

With USDA Support, a Midwest Cooking Oil Producer Sees a Sunny Future

On a farm in small-town Pierz, Minnesota, Tom and Jenni Smude are breaking new ground in the cooking oil business. Tom and Jenni started Smude’s Natural Sunflower Oil in February of 2010 and have enjoyed the ride ever since. What began as an idea to grow a drought-tolerant crop transformed into a rural small-business success story with the potential to become something even bigger.

USDA and Habitat for Humanity Partner to Build Home for Single Mother in Mountain Iron, Minn.

When the final wall was raised on Jessi Mattila’s new home, it symbolized another step toward homeownership for the mother of three in Mountain Iron, Minn. It also symbolized the strength of a new partnership between USDA Rural Development and the Habitat for Humanity.

Rural Development is financing Mattila’s home through its direct home loan program and the North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity is partnering with the Mattila family to provide support through the building process.

USDA Grant Improves Health and Safety for Clients of Adult Day Center in Minnesota

For almost 50 years, ProWorks Inc. has provided valuable day services to Minnesota adults living with disabilities. For the last 30 years, ProWorks has counted the USDA as one of its partners.

ProWorks started as a pilot project in 1962 in the basement of an old school building in West Central Minnesota. About 30 years ago, ProWorks used a USDA Rural Development loan to build its current facility in Litchfield, Minn. ProWorks also has a facility in nearby Dassel.

USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program Finances 1st Flex Fuel Pump in Minnesota’s McLeod County

The line of cars stretched out of the parking lot and onto the street at the Glencoe Co-op Association on a recent warm afternoon in August. With financing from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the co-op recently installed the first flex fuel pump in McLeod County, and several  flex fuel vehicle owners in the area wanted to be among the first to fill up.

“We’re glad to help stimulate the economy and support clean air and agriculture. That’s what the co-op is all about,” said Dale Heglund, Co-op Director.