Electric cooperatives have been making a big difference in local economic development efforts for many years. The cooperative model—built on service before profit—has enabled cooperatives to invest in necessary community projects. The USDA Rural Economic Development Loan (REDL) and Grant (REDG) program (REDLG) has provided Sunflower an avenue to assist with economic health and growth of Kansas communities.

This program is available through Sunflower’s Member distribution cooperatives and provides funds to community and economic development projects at zero-percent interest for a ten-year period. The program can fund up to 80 percent of the total project cost, and projects are selected through a competitive process. These funds can be used in two ways: for public purpose projects or for economic development projects that involve new business start-ups or existing business expansions.

For public purpose projects, an applicant can receive zero-interest funds up to $300,000. The applicant is typically a city or county, not-for-profit organization, or medical for-profit business providing service to the community. Examples of successful public purpose projects include the purchase of fire trucks, hospital expansions, and library expansions.

For economic development projects, an applicant can receive zero-interest funds up to $1,000,000. New or expanding businesses are eligible for funds to finance a new business or expansion that results in saving and/or creating new jobs. Examples of successful economic development projects include a new motel, expansion of a tire recycling facility, and the purchase of equipment for a cabinet manufacturer.

As a service to our Members, Sunflower will package the loan application at no charge to the applicant. Please contact your local rural electric cooperative for additional information regarding the program and project eligibility. ​