IFB Rural Development Grant Program FAQs

Q: How much funding is available?

A: IFB will award a total of $25,000 to $30,000 for rural development grants.


Q: Is there a minimum or maximum funding amount I can apply for?

A: No. However, IFB’s intent is to award multiple grants, not just one large one.


Q: When are grant applications due?

A: We will accept grant applications on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted. Once the funds are gone for this fiscal year, we will notify county Farm Bureau managers and ask that they hold applications for other projects until the next fiscal year begins, assuming the pilot program is successful and continues.


Q: When will I know if I am selected as a grant recipient?

A: We will notify all applicants of their status within 3-4 weeks of receiving the application.


Q: What is considered rural?

A: There are many definitions out there of rural, including multiple ones used at the federal and state levels. Generally, if your community, county, or project meets any of these definitions, you are eligible for this grant.


Q: Does my community or county need to have a current and active strategic plan in place to apply?

A: While not required, preference will be given to projects that are connected to a strategic plan. Ideally, this grant will be a catalyst for moving the strategic plan forward from the planning stage to the execution stage and will get residents excited about what is happening in their community or county.


Q: What if my community or county wants to create a strategic plan and needs financial resources to do so?

A: We will consider grant applications for funding to support the development of a strategic plan. In addition, while this is not the only option, we encourage you to contact the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University to learn more about their MAPPING the Future of Your Community Program. This program focuses on “strategic visioning, planning and doing” while utilizing the community’s strengths and building community support. Learn more at https://mappingthefuture.iira.org


Q: What types of projects are eligible for this grant?

A: As a pilot year, we are taking a broad approach on project types. We are looking for projects that will meet a need in a community, county, or rural area. Examples could include projects focused on attracting businesses, fostering entrepreneurship, improving infrastructure and broadband, increasing healthcare access, expanding recreational opportunities, increasing available housing, developing tourism, community beautification, revitalizing community spirit/engagement, enhancing emergency services support (fire, EMS, police) or other projects that positively impact farmers and residents.


Q: Are matching funds required?

A: No. This grant can be used without matching funds to support a project or it can be combined with other funding sources for projects that are larger in scope. However, if you are able to use this grant to leverage or generate matching funds, that is great.


Q: How will the funding be disbursed to grant recipients?

A: Grant funding will flow to the county Farm Bureau making or supporting the application and they can then disburse it to the partner(s) leading the project as appropriate.


Q: What will be required for the grant impact reporting?

A: The impact report will ask for a summary of the completed project and the impact it is having to date. It will also ask you to confirm or update the details outlined in the application such as the participants, engagement, final budget/expenditures, and other relevant information. Having a few pictures of the project from start to finish would also be appreciated.


Q: When is the grant impact reporting due?

A: Reports will be due within four weeks of the conclusion of the project or no later than August 1 of the grant fiscal year.


Q: What if my project is one that needs a longer period of time to be completed due to the size or complexity of the project?

A: If the project is going to extend beyond the grant impact reporting due date, please be sure to indicate the specific timeline and planned steps as requested in the application. In place of a grant impact report, we will request a status summary/update be submitted by August 1 of the grant fiscal year, then a full grant impact report upon completion of the project.


Q: Will you accept a multi-year project?

A: We are unable to commit to multi-year funding. However, you can apply for funding each grant cycle for an ongoing and/or multi-year project.