Iowa Farm Bureau Honors Lucas County Economic Developers with Inaugural 'Inspiring Community Growth' Award

Lucas County Community Leaders Honored for Bringing Economic Growth, Jobs to Rural Iowa            

Lucas County Development Corporation is being honored with Iowa Farm Bureau’s first ‘Inspiring Community Growth’ award for the many ways community leaders and developers work together to encourage entrepreneurs and boost economic development in south central Iowa.                       

“Lucas County, recently honored with a Skilled Iowa Community distinction from the State of Iowa, is a community that has found a way to nurture success at every level,” says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Economic Development Administrator Sandy Ehrig.  “Economic success doesn’t begin and end on Main Street; it starts early.  Lucas County’s Economic Development group has earned this ‘Inspiring Community Growth’ award because in many ways, across many platforms, they encourage success with their community.  They involve students, their existing business leaders and rural Iowans who may have great ideas, but need guidance to see those ideas realized,” says Ehrig.            

Indeed, Lucas County Development Corporation President Christopher Watkins says their community’s sustainability model begins in their schools. “We work in collaboration with the Chariton High School and have every student take the National Career Readiness Certificate program test.  This is a tool to help our youth prepare for jobs after high school.  We are also heavily involved with the Synchronist program to assist our local businesses with regards to business retention and expansion. We work hard to bring new opportunities and mentoring to area businesses, to help them grow.  That’s how we came in contact with the Renew Rural Iowa program and their ‘Journey to Your Vision’ seminars,” says Watkins.           

The Renew Rural Iowa ‘Journey’ seminar takes place June 4 in Chariton.  The seminar helps business leaders tap into expertise, recognize their top five challenges, complete a business model for growth and tap into resources that can take them to the ‘next level’ of success.            

“Renew Rural Iowa is all about helping small businesses grow and thrive in rural Iowa because we know how vital they are to the sustainability of our rural communities,” says Ehrig.  Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program has helped more than 2,500 Iowans successfully own and grow their business since the program launched in 2006.   More than 35 RRIA seminars have been held around the state since the program began, connecting entrepreneurs, business leader mentors and finance opportunities.  For more information on the June 4 ‘Journey’ seminar or for more information on Renew Rural Iowa, call 800-254-9670 or go to