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Secretary Vilsack Finds the Beef in Illinois

“Where’s the beef?”  And the pork, and chicken?  At RMH Foods in Morton, Illinois…thanks to a USDA Rural Development guaranteed loan!

RMH Foods has been in the food processing business since Jesse Rocke opened a locker plant more than 70 years ago.  Then his son Wayne added a “meat market” concept.  Grandson Jonathan eventually recognized the need for more convenient, fully cooked, refrigerated entrees.  That’s when a large food company decided RMH Foods would be a good acquisition.  But eight years later when the parent firm decided to sell the subsidiary, Great Grandson Jordan almost didn’t have a chance to add his name to the legacy.  According to Jonathan Rocke, in the current economic and banking environment, they would not have been successful in re-purchasing the business without the loan guarantee.

It was a proud moment not only for the Rocke family, but the entire community, when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the business and applauded the commitment of saving the 133 jobs that RMH Foods provides.  Secretary Vilsack said it would have been easier for the family to have “taken the money and run,” but instead the reacquisition brought the added benefit of ancillary services back to the community through local banking, local insurance coverage and support of the local tax base.  This is a perfect example of the purpose of and need for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  This loan guarantee helped “recover” and “reinvest!”

The RMH Foods fully-cooked, refrigerated beef, pork, chicken and Italian selections can feed two people for about $6.99 (about a third of restaurant dining, including tip, tax and drinks).  And now RMH is introducing a low salt, low fat line.  So stay tuned.  There may be potential for an additional USDA Rural Development loan guarantee for future expansion of RMH Foods!

Secretary Vilsack speaks to reporters at RMH Foods in Illinois
Secretary Vilsack speaks to reporters at RMH Foods in Illinois

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