Earlier this year, Pella Cooperative Electric Association (PCEA) and LDJ Manufacturing Inc. received a $1.5 million load through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG) to assist with a $2.5 million building expansion for LDJ Manufacturing. In December, PCEA presented the check to LDJ for the project.
USDA's REDLG program provides zero-interest loans to rural utility providers, such as PCEA that in turn re-lend the money at zero-interest to businesses within their communities. PCEA utilizes the USDA's REDLG program as one of the economic development tools to promote community development, economic growth, and help create and retain jobs in rural Iowa.
"As a member-owned electric Cooperative, we're in a unique position to utilize borrowing power for our local businesses that we serve. Any efforts we can make to contribute to our local economy is a win for us, for our members, and for the community," commented PCEA's CEO Doug Stewart. "We're pleased to be able to partner with LDJ Manufacturing on their project."
As the home of Thunder Creek Equipment for over a decade, LDJ Manufacturing has built a reputation for uncompromising quality and service to their customers. Unprecedented demand for Thunder Creek products meant the company would need to expand its manufacturing footprint. In July of 2022, LDJ broke ground on a new 25,000 sq ft addition to accommodate increased production and warehousing as well as additional workstations and a tornado shelter. The new building was officially completed in early December 2022.
"We're happy to partner with Pella Cooperative Electric and the USDA in an expansion project," said Ben Cox, President of LDJ Manufacturing. "It's an exciting step forward for business growth and local economic opportunities with skilled job creation and higher wages in our community."
This is PCEA's 15th USDA economic development loan project. In total, these loans have led to more than $6 million of additional investment in the community and have helped retain or create more than 100 jobs in Pella and surrounding communities throughout the program.