A slouching national and global economy isn’t stopping South Dakota farmer and farm-business developer David Kolsrud from trying to create jobs and successful businesses in rural America. Kolsrud is the founder and owner of a new membership investment group, called The Funding Farm, which recently announced its goal “to unite local investors in America’s heartland with local entrepreneurs.”

According to the company’s press release, “The Funding Farm will work with traditional businesses that want to expand, distressed assets that can be brought back to viable businesses and inventors who have new concepts and ideas they want to turn into a new business.” It also states that The Funding Farm will “seek to promote and spawn many agricultural-related businesses in the region.”

Kudos to Kolsrud for not sitting around waiting for a government program or stimulus check to create more jobs – jobs intended to be based in farm country, with farm sector input. No, rather than turning to the government, which is so often out of touch with the farm sector, this company is turning to other farmers and rural Americans for ideas and inspiration.

“A lot of people involved in agriculture are tired of seeing their investment dollars leave their communities,” says Matthew Willard, The Funding Farm president. “That’s one reason why the Funding Farm was created; we want to provide a platform for investors in agricultural or rural communities to create new businesses that will generate more jobs and more prosperity for the nation’s midsection.

“We are convinced that there are a lot of resources, a lot of smart people and a lot of good ideas in this area of the country,” adds Willard. “We think that the Funding Farm will bring those ideas, resources and people together to help grow companies in the Heartland for the long term.”

Kolsrud, who has 15 years’ experience developing renewable energy industries, primarily in the areas of ethanol, biodiesel and wind projects, agrees. “Some of the more attractive investment partners in this region are active farmers and/or retired farmers and landowners,” says Kolsrud. “They are a significant source of both expertise and potential investment.”

With statements like these, it’s tempting for someone like myself, who is pro-agriculture and pro-rural America, to want to join their investment group. While the possibilities intrigue me, I also like to hold onto the money that I have. There’s just no way of knowing if this business venture will provide a return on investment or not – and no reader should interpret what I’ve reported here as an endorsement.

Still, whether it succeeds or fails, I applaud this farmer and his investment group for their initiative. It’s this type of resourcefulness and can-do attitude that once made this country exceptionally great – and maybe still will.