U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service Administrator Chad Rupe today announced that USDA is investing $181 million to upgrade rural electric systems in 10 states (PDF, 98 KB). The funding includes $7.7 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.
“For more than eight decades, USDA has been a strong partner to rural communities in building and expanding electric infrastructure,” Rupe said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to investing in essential infrastructure upgrades that improve the quality of life in rural communities and help grow the rural economy.”
USDA is providing financing for 12 projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin through the Electric Loan Program. The funding will help build and improve 1,354 miles of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas.
Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Bloomfield, Iowa, is receiving a $4.7 million loan to make equipment and pole upgrades throughout its service area. Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative serves more than 4,700 residential and commercial customers across nearly 1,675 miles of line in Appanoose, Davis, Van Buren and Wapello counties in southeast Iowa.
These upgrades will ensure that the electric cooperative will continue to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electric service to its members. This will also foster economic growth in Southern Iowa’s service area.
USDA Rural Development has a long-time partnership with Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative including more than 10 loans to help expand and improve electric services to their members during the past 50 years. Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative also participates in USDA Rural Development’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program to promote job growth.
USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks. Congress appropriated $5.5 billion for USDA’s Electric Loan Program in fiscal year 2019.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.
Contact USDA Rural Development
Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/ia or by calling (515) 284-4663.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.