Advisory Services








Intro Rural Finance Course

Alaska Industrial Development and Export AuthorityBaker Tilly Virchow KrauseBallard Spahr LLPBNY MellonBricker & Eckler LLPBryan Cave LLPBusiness OregonCohnReznickFBT Project Finance Advisors LLCFrost Brown Todd, LLCHawkins Delafield & Wood LLPIce Miller LLPKeyBanc Capital MarketsKutak Rock LLPMB Financial Bank, NAMcCarter & English, LLPMcGuireWoodsNW Financial Group, LLCSB Friedman Development AdvisorsSquire Patton BoggsStern Brothers & Co.Stifel NicolausU.S. BankWells Fargo SecuritiesWilmington TrustZ. The Bond Buyer


The Intro Rural Finance Training Course focuses on how the development finance toolbox can be structured to support rural communities and help them with strategies to invest in infrastructure, redevelopment, and job creation. This course differs from other curriculums in that it focuses on designing programs targeted to serve rural communities.

Leaders in rural and agricultural development finance will discuss how to develop and establish long-term financing within rural communities. In addition, the course will highlight successful programs that are working throughout the country in communities with varying levels of capacity and size. Topics discussed during the course include targeted financing programs available at the federal, state, and local levels for rural communities, along with best practices for employing these financing programs.

This course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.


Course Objectives

  • Understand the the financing challenges and opportunities for rural communities
  • Examine federal, state, and local financing programs supporting rural communities
  • Learn about essential financing sources employed by rural communities, including bonds, TIF, loan programs, grants, and other sources
  • Discover solutions for managing risk, building capacity, developing financing partners, and identifying resources
  • Consider strategies and best practices for expanding access to capital. rural business development, and infrastructure development and redevelopment
  • Discuss case studies from a variety of rural communities with different financing capacities, geographic areas, and population sizes

Topics Covered

  • Rural financing programs from federal, state, and local sources
  • Applying development finance tools for rural projects
  • Financing solutions for agriculture, infrastructure, energy, food systems, manufacturers, small businesses, and other rural businesses.
  • Identifying local financing partners, including CDCs, CDFIs, MEPs, developers, banks, and service providers
  • Understanding risk and long term financing strategies unique to rural communities
  • Case studies focused on structuring and layering financing sources together

Who Should Attend?

  • Bond Issuers
  • Economic Development Professionals
  • Community Development Professionals
  • Broker/Dealers and Underwriters
  • Elected Officials
  • Government and Nonprofit Finance Officers
  • Attorneys
  • Accountants
  • Financial Advisors
  • Policy Makers

Course Advisor

Katie Kramer Katie Kramer
Council of Development Finance Agencies
Vice President
Katie Kramer is Vice President at the Council of Development Finance Agencies and has been with CDFA since 2005. She is an accomplished non-profit executive with expertise in fundraising, grant writing, operations, and building organizational... (More)


The following is the preliminary agenda for this course. This agenda will be updated and modified slightly to accommodate speakers and content. However, the main areas of content as outlined in this agenda will be covered.

Day One

12:00 – 12:30 pmWelcome & Overview

Welcome participants, introduce CDFA, and set the stage for the course.

Katie Kramer, Course Advisor
Vice President
Council of Development Finance Agencies

12:30 – 1:30 pmIntroduction to Rural Development Finance

The Intro Rural Finance Course focuses on the development finance challenges and opportunities in rural communities. The opening session of the course will outline the variety of financing programs available and consider the types of financing risks facing rural communities and the solutions to employ.

1:30 – 2:30 pmFinancing Sources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA Rural Development offers 40+ financing programs to support rural-based businesses and communities. They manage a $210 billion portfolio of loans, and administer approximately $38 billion in loans, loan guarantees and grants through its various programs. During this session, learn about the types of financing programs available, including those for economic development and infrastructure, and how to access those programs in your community.

2:30 – 2:45 pmBreak

2:45 – 4:00 pmFinancing Solutions for Rural-Based Businesses

This session will examine the development finance programs that drive business development and sustain economic development on a broader scale in rural areas. Topics covered include identifying appropriate financing programs for the businesses in your community, developing partnerships with banks and other capital access providers, and understanding the capital needs of rural-based businesses.

4:00 – 5:00 pmFinancing Solutions for Rural Food and Agricultural Systems

This session will examine the development finance programs that sustain a local food system and how rural communities can make investments in that system can drive economic development. Topics covered include federal, state, and local sources of capital, stakeholders involved in the financing process, and understanding the financing challenges associated with growing, processing, distributing, marketing, and selling food.

5:00 pmAdjourn

Day Two

12:00 – 12:15 pmRevisiting Day 1

Katie Kramer, Course Advisor
Vice President
Council of Development Finance Agencies

12:15 – 1:30 pmFinancing Solutions for Rural Downtown Development

Many rural communities are engaged in revitalization efforts to restore their downtowns and mainstreets. This session will explain the various tools and programs available to revitalize and redevelop rural downtowns, including tax increment financing, special assessment, tax credits, EB-5, and others. Topics covered include building relationships with developers, building community buy-in to support redevelopment, and attracting private capital to support real estate development.

1:30 pm – 2:45 pmFinancing Solutions for Rural Energy

The demand for energy infrastructure investment is increasing, especially as the demand for alternative and renewable energy sources spreads to rural communities. This session will delve into a broad range of financing tools available for all types of rural-based environmental and energy projects. Topics covered include types of renewable energy projects successfully operating in rural areas, state and federal financing sources, as well as other models to develop energy projects in rural areas.

2:45 – 3:00 pmBreak

3:00 – 4:00 pmFinancing Solutions for Sustainable Rural Infrastructure

This session of the course will look at the variety of financing programs and resources available to build strong rural communities through investments in transportation, water, and broadband infrastructure. Topics include public-private partnerships, targeted financing strategies, and navigating legal and regulatory requirements. This session will have a special focus on the capacity needs of rural communities and how to structure the financing for these large-scale investments.

4:00 – 5:00 pmCase Studies

The final session of the course will look at a few exemplary rural financing deals across the country to put the themes of the two-day course in context.

5:00 pmAdjourn


Check back for upcoming course dates or email CDFA to find out when this course will next be offered.


The Intro Rural Finance Course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.