WAYLAND— Farmers and Merchants Mutual Telephone Company (FarmTel) Wayland, Iowa, has awarded a $2,500 grant to the Mount Pleasant Area Development Commission (MPADC) in support of a countywide economic development web site. The development commission is now eligible for a matching grant from Iowa Network Services.
“Building and maintaining a strong web presence is the most important job of today’s economic development organization because the web is where a business begins when choosing a location for a new facility,” said Kiley Miller, Executive Vice President of the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance. “This grant will help us attract businesses to Henry County.”
FarmTel has long been active in economic development in Henry County, previously building a robust telecommunications network in Wayland that helped bring several businesses to the community. More recently, FarmTel officials announced plans to extend fiber optic telecommunications services into Crossroads Industrial Park in Mount Pleasant.
“FarmTel prides itself on being on the cutting edge of telecommunications technology,” said Rex McGuire, General Manager of FarmTel, “and we’re proud to support the Mount Pleasant Area Development Commission in staying on the cutting edge of economic development.”
The MPADC has contracted with Minneapolis-based Golden Shovel to construct the new web site scheduled for launch in early summer. Golden Shovel exclusively builds economic development sites.
“Golden Shovel understands the specific challenges and opportunities of economic development in the rural Midwest and they create sites that are attractive, dynamic and functional,” Miller said.
The FarmTel grant makes the MPADC eligible for a grant from an Iowa Network Services program called Ripple Effect, which provides a portfolio of business and community assistance through rural independent telephone companies and their development partners. The program is administered by the Iowa Area Development Group, an economic development extension of Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives.
“Ripple Effect is a powerful tool for promoting growth in rural Iowa,” McGuire said.
Established in 1938, FarmTel provides telephone, cable TV and wireless internet from nine towers in Southeast Iowa. In 2006, FarmTel invested $6 million in a fiber optic network to move all customers from copper wire to fiber optic service.