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Okabena Fire Department buys new fire truck through Federated & USDA loan program

Friday, February 9, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shari Wormwood
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(JACKSON, MN) — The Okabena Fire Department rang in the new year with a new fire truck thanks to a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federated Rural Electric, Jackson.


The City of Okabena was looking for an affordable way to finance a new brush fire pickup for fighting grass fires; their current model (1977) was due for an update. Okabena purchased a new Ford pickup F350 that will be more dependable and continue to ensure the area’s public safety. Okabena financed $19,141 or half of the truck’s cost with Federated’s revolving loan fund with the loan closing occurring in January of 2018. 



Okabena Mayor Brent Groen, Fire Chief Chad Petersen and Asssistant Fire Chief Lance DeWall in front of the new brush fire pick-up truck that is ready for service thanks to a revolving loan fund from Federated Rural Electric, Jackson.


“The older pickup was 30 years old and not reliable,” stated Chad Petersen, Okabena Fire Chief. “The old one was not safe to drive, as it was no longer mechanically sound. Plus, sometimes the old pickup would not start. We moved the skid unit with the water tank, pump and hoses from the old pickup bed into the new one. This loan really makes a difference for the City of Okabena as it frees up cash and helps them with other obligations.”


As an electric cooperative and utility provider, Federated applied for a loan through USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program (REDLG) in 2009 and 2016, which required a Federated 20 percent match. “As the original recipients pay off their original loans, the money goes into a Federated revolving loan fund,” stated Scott Reimer, Federated’s general manager. “The one percent service fee is attractive to the recipients and keeps the dollars flowing to help our rural economies.”


Entities that have paid back into the revolving loan fund include: the Cities of Round Lake, Heron Lake and Ceylon for buying fire trucks, while Tenhassen Township used it to build a township hall meeting area and garage.


Over the past three years alone, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $6.73 million in REDLG funding to support community facilities and small business development and expansion in rural communities throughout Minnesota. Rural Development also invests in housing, water and wastewater treatment, community facilities, renewable energy and broadband.


For more information on USDA Rural Development programs, please contact your local Area Office by visiting


Federated has a long history of economic development. Since 1992, Federated provided economic development dollars totaling $3.8 million. This contributed to keeping 1,086 jobs and securing 448 new jobs in the area.


Federated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative serving 6,700 members in Jackson and Martin Counties.

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