Compeer Financial and CEDA Partner on Rural Vitality
Sun Prairie, Wis., (February 14, 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
“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 $28.1 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
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.