July 2023

2023 Bus Tour Recap

June 23rd, RNDC hosted its 9th Annual Bus Tour. The day started at the historic Kato Ballroom in Mankato for breakfast before everyone boarded the bus and hit the road. This year’s attendees included staff, commissioners, and stakeholders from business, government, and academia.


The first stop on the tour was Eagle Lake City Hall to learn about the city’s Strategic Economic Development Plan created by RNDC. City Administrator Jennifer Bromeland spoke about working with the Commission and the city’s next steps. Bromeland said, “We’re dealing with rapid growth pressures, being reactive, and not having good planning documents. We can’t do everything at once, we don’t have the staff. We decided to start with this strategic plan and get that checked off and go from there. It has been a really good start.”


Economic Recovery Planner, Alejandra Bejarano was the lead on the project and spoke on how she approached the plan which included gathering data and talking with as many residents as possible. She added how it was the combined effort of the RNDC, Eagle Lake staff, and the dedicated residents that were willing to provide their input.

The next stop was Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) client, JR’s Barn. JR’s Barn is a wedding venue in Waldorf that provides a beautiful, rustic setting to hold special events. This stop provided a great setting for the attendees to network, and enjoy lunch.


During lunch, Finance Director Ky Battern talked about the goals of the RLF program and the ways it can help businesses add jobs to Region Nine. JR’s Barn co-owner, Renae Groskreutz added how the program helped them expand their business into a premiere destination for couples looking for a unique space for their wedding.

The last stop was RLF client Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm. Co-owner Emily Knudsen lead a tour of the property which has become famous for its delicious pizzas. She told the story of how she fell in love with pizza farms and convinced her husband Bill to turn the property into what it is today.

Environment and Sustainability Planner, Sabri Fair then talked about Local Foods Week and the South Central Minnesota Growers Network. Local Foods Week aims to connect local restaurants with local producers to highlight the stories behind the food we eat. The Growers Network is a group of agricultural entrepreneurs dedicated to providing resources, training, and mentoring to emerging farmers.


The Annual RNDC Bus Tour is an opportunity for the staff to highlight the organization’s projects and partnerships. It is also a chance to spotlight success stories from RLF clients. The bus tour committee is looking ahead to next year’s tour and can’t wait to share more success stories with RNDC’s clients and partners.

Utilizing the Manufacturing Resiliency Plan

RNDC in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), has completed a Manufacturing Resiliency Plan for Region Nine. The plan lays out the current state of manufacturing in Region Nine, economic disruptions, challenges, and recommendations to position the region for success in the future.


RNDC Board of Directors Chair, Mike Laven said, “Region Nine continues to leverage the regional assets with federal funding opportunities with local communities’ economic strategies. When the communities within Region Nine need data to further their economic plans, we are here to assist them and leverage our federal funding opportunities. The board unanimously approved the plan as the Region Nine staff continues to collaborate across our communities to leverage local and federal economic goals.”


The EDA provided funding for this project due to the important role manufacturing plays in the region. By investing in resiliency measures, the region can navigate challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and maintain a strong and sustainable manufacturing ecosystem.


Susan Brehm, EDA Director of the Chicago Regional Office said, “The EDA is pleased to support Region Nine Development Commission’s efforts to bring stakeholders together to develop a Manufacturing Resilience Plan. This collaborative effort lays the groundwork for future opportunities that will strengthen the manufacturing sector and regional economy for decades to come.”


Earrin Fleener, EDA Economic Development Representative for Minnesota added, “RNDC is a critical partner in EDA’s efforts to boost manufacturing, create jobs, and build a stronger regional economy in South Central Minnesota. We applaud this Manufacturing Resilience Plan to help local communities develop pathways for greater economic and community resilience and I look forward to working with stakeholders to help them achieve success.”

The plan is available on the RNDC website and communities are encouraged to utilize the document as they look towards the future of economic development in their cities. The plan can be utilized to stimulate conversations for closer public/private collaborations while leveraging academic institutions (k-12 and higher education) to build stronger relationships and programming.


Most notably, the plan calls for initiatives to upskill the existing workforce, programming aimed at enhancing diversity in the workforce, more co-manufacturing and shared learning opportunities, closer collaborations with academia, and the geographic expansion of resources centered in Mankato to smaller communities in the region.

The graph above outlines the impact of a 10% loss on some of the largest sectors. Combined, that reduction in output would lead to an expected decline in the region’s earnings by $702.6 million annually and would reduce labor demand by 176,692 positions in the top 20 industries.


The findings also indicated three underlying areas of opportunity, each of which were articulated through engagements with industry partners and other stakeholders. The most pressing issues identified were improvements in operating efficiency, supporting a resilient workforce, and developing stronger clusters in the region.

The recommendations section lays out opportunities, strategies for implementation, and potential partners. This section provides a starting point for communities as they look ahead at the challenges and opportunities that the manufacturing industry may face.


The plan will help local communities identify and mitigate potential risks and vulnerabilities within the manufacturing sector. This proactive approach allows businesses to assess and address factors such as supply chain disruptions, natural disasters, changes in market conditions, and technological advancements. Developing risk mitigation strategies can help communities protect local manufacturing jobs, maintain economic stability, and foster long-term growth.


“Economic resilience plans are critical tools to work with the federal government to identify needs and opportunities within our region. Not only do they identify conditions that warrant attention, either unique to a local community or shared throughout the nine-county region, but they also augment what the commissioners communicate through RNDC as ‘pressure points’ in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) and the annual amendments. In other words, these plans identify more opportunities for regional stakeholders to seek federal funding for economic development projects in South Central Minnesota and we are proud to partner with regional stakeholders to develop such plans,” said RNDC Executive Director, Nicole Griensewic.

Read and Download the Manufacturing Resiliency Plan

Paola Ferrario Attends the UN Summer Academy

Paola Ferrario, RNDC Community Development Planner, took part in this year's UN Summer Academy. Paola was awarded a scholarship to attend from the North Rhine Westphalia government. She joins RNDC staff, Alejandra Bejarano and Corree Johnson who attended in previous years.


The UN Summer Academy is an annual global forum that brings together leaders from various sectors to address sustainable development issues. This year's forum focused on Governance for Sustainable Development as well as the Paris Agreement and emerging technologies.


Paola said, "The training program is an immersive and comprehensive experience that encompasses a wide range of crucial topics in the realm of global affairs. From diplomacy and international relations to sustainable development, peacekeeping, and economic cooperation. The program offers a holistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our interconnected world."


The program allows various industry leaders to connect on complex global issues while fostering strong international relations. These connections have the potential to bring more economic opportunities to Region Nine.

Paola is excited to bring what she learned back to Region Nine. She added, "Looking ahead, I am excited to leverage the knowledge and networks gained during the UN Summer Academy to enhance our international efforts here in South Central Minnesota. By promoting our international network and relationships, we can foster greater collaboration and mutually beneficial partnerships. Together, we can contribute to the advancement of our local communities and create a lasting positive impact on a global scale."

Local Foods Week is July 24-30!

Local Foods Week is right around the corner! The week of July 24th, you can visit participating restaurants to support local businesses and the ag producers that supply their food.


This year there are 10 restaurants and 9 growers participating. Each restaurant is partnered with a grower to produce a special dish that highlights how each business supports the other.


The participating restaurants are:

Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm, Amboy Cottage Café, Wooden Spoon, Mom & Pops, Chankaska Winery, Number 4, The Coffee Hag, Thyme on Main, and Papa George’s.


This year’s growers include:

Blue Dirt Farm, Cedar Crate Farm, Blissful Bees Pastures, Moody Bees Honey, Leuer Gardens, Rebel Rooster, K & M Fischer Farm, Alternative Roots Farm, and Under the Sun Herbs.

Learn More
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RLF Spotlight! Precision Chiropractic & Wellness and Nyla Hagen, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

Finance Director Ky Battern and Communications Specialist Nathan George visited the future site of Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) clients Precision Chiropractic & Wellness and Nyla Hagen, Edward Jones Financial Advisor in Waseca. The businesses have purchased a new shared office space that is slated to open its doors in July.


Hagen was a chiropractic patient of Dr. Ryan Mairs, the owner of Precision. The two discussed how they both needed a new space to expand, and the groundwork was laid for the new office space. With the help of RNDC’s RLF program, the two businesses were able to secure funding to purchase and renovate an office space just off Highway 13/N. State St. in Waseca.


Both Mairs and Hagen have over 20 years of experience in their respective professions and have earned the trust of the community. Precision Chiropractic treats everyone from athletes to the elderly. Mairs is also a certified pediatric chiropractor. During the three years of specialized training, he learned how to care for children from birth through their teenage years. This also includes caring for mothers during their pregnancy. 


Hagen has weathered the storm of three recessions. Because of this experience, she has a wealth of experience that has helped her clients meet their financial goals no matter the economic conditions. She also has a knack for explaining complex financial situations in simple terms. Hagen said, “Our clients tell me they are grateful for the way I explain things - that I speak “finance” in a language they can understand and give them the perspective they need to make wise decisions.”


The new space allows Precision Chiropractic & Wellness to expand its services and hire more employees. They currently have two doctors on staff, but Mairs plans to hire another doctor within a year. Hagen is using the space to create a comfortable and private space for her clients to plan for their financial futures.


You can visit Precision Chiropractic & Wellness and Nyla Hagen at 104 22nd Ave. NE, Waseca, MN.


You can find Precision Chiropractic online at precisionwaseca.com/ and Nyla Hagen at edwardjones.com/us-en/financial-advisor/nyla-hagen

Learn More About RNDC's RLF Program

RNDC is Hiring!

We're Hiring! RNDC is looking for a Loan Specialist to promote and administer our Revolving Loan Fund. This position is a great opportunity for someone looking to make a difference in South Central Minnesota. Our team is made up of community-oriented professionals committed to the success of the region.


The position will focus on marketing the program to local bankers, economic development representatives, prospective clients, and other RLF operators in our area. This position will be also responsible for the underwriting process of new loans, organizing loan committee meetings, and the ongoing maintenance of any existing loans within RNDC’s portfolio.

Learn More and Apply

Region Nine in the News - New Ulm is America's Most German Town and the History of Turner Hall

Turner Hall Executive Director and RNDC Vice-Chair Andrea Boettger was recently interviewed by KSTP about the history of New Ulm and Turner Hall. The hall was established in 1856 and is the state's oldest bar. Boetteger explained the hall's history, which operates as a bar, restaurant, and gymnastics facility.


You can hear the full interview by clicking the button below.

Watch the Interview

$$ Additional Grant Opportunities $$

Dairy Business Planning Grant


Grants cover 50% of the cost to hire a qualified, independent third party to create a business plan for a dairy operation or test for stray voltage. Dairy producers have used these grants to evaluate the feasibility of expanding a dairy, plan environmental upgrades, and create strategies to transfer the operation to a family member or other new owner.



Deadline: First come, first served

Learn More

Transportation Economic Development Infrastructure Program


Grant funds are available to fund public infrastructure improvements that will promote economic development, increase employment, and improve transportation systems to accommodate private investment and job creation.






Deadline: September, 22, 2023

Learn More

About Region Nine

Region Nine Development Commission takes great pride in working with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships, and schools throughout South Central Minnesota. Since 1972, being a partner for progress has led to the development of programs and identification of solutions in the areas of economic development, business development, healthy communities, transportation, community development, and leveraging regional resources. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.rndc.org.
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