Who We Are
The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University builds the capacity of community leaders and policymakers by providing technical support, applied research, policy evaluation, and training across the state. IIRA is a clearinghouse for information on rural issues, coordinates rural research, and works with state agencies on issues of importance to rural communities.
The Illinois Cooperative Development Center (ICDC) at IIRA helps cooperatives and other community-owned businesses in Illinois start up and succeed, by providing technical assistance, training, and publications. ICDC assistance is available to co-ops in any sector of the economy, as well as to economic development and business assistance organizations seeking to enhance their own ability to serve co-ops.
The Value-Added Sustainable Development Center (VASDC) extends IIRA’s rural community economic development work to the sectors of agriculture, food, energy, and community sustainability. VASDC helps farmers, non-farm rural businesses, and community leaders excel by providing technical assistance and research on topics such as value-added and sustainable agriculture, local food systems, rural grocery stores, and renewable energy systems.
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