RDP Partnered with Bongards to Expand Farmer Opportunities in America’s Heartland

PERHAM, MINNESOTA –Rural Development Partners (RDP) was pleased to award Bongards Creameries $20 million in New Markets Tax Credit financing for equipment toward the expansion of their cheese and whey processing facility in Perham, Minnesota. The funding will allow Bongards to increase production capacity, improve efficiency & quality, and increase milk purchases while improving outcomes for regional farmers. The project is expected to create/retain 158 good paying quality jobs, and stimulate 389 indirect jobs that support operations.

“RDP is honored to help Bongards expand its operations in Perham. The added capacity will allow them to continue to service their existing members while bringing on additional patrons. Bongards has always paid a premium to their members which is vital to the long-term viability of family farms in Minnesota.” – Dan Helgeson, CEO of RDP

While the dairy industry has grown by 4.5% nationally over five years, Minnesota growth has remained relatively unchanged. Bongards expansion will allow growth at a time the region suffered the loss of a Creamery just 3 hours from the Perham facility, leaving 40 Minnesota and Wisconsin dairy farms without buyers for their milk. The expansion will increase milk intake by approximately 1.4 million pounds per day, boosting member payments by approximately $60 million or $225,000 annually.

“The New Markets Tax Credit program has been and continues to be instrumental in our ability to continue to provide the maximum value for the milk of our members, while ensuring we are building a cooperative that will be here for future generations. The Community Development Entities that partner with us understand the need to support our farmers and building for the future. They are wonderful partners in our mission of long-term success and service to our farmer owners.” – Chris Freeman, CFO of Bongards

Rural Development Partners

Rural Development Partners is a Community Development Entity with a national service area eligible to apply for an annual allocation of Federal New Markets Tax Credits. From 2004 through 2023, RDP has won twelve NMTC awards from the US Treasury totaling $751.7 million. Funding has helped 50 businesses and nonprofits expand to provide quality jobs, economic impacts, and healthy food access in underserved communities. RDP seeks to serve and partner with businesses, non-profits, communities, and government entities that share its mission to build public-private partnerships for catalytic job growth in rural America. To learn more about partnering with RDP, reference the RDP Lead Guide linked.