U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Missouri State Director Jeff Case today announced USDA is awarding over $72 million to improve rural electric reliability and resilience throughout central Missouri.
“President Trump and the United States Department of Agriculture are pursuing an unprecedented commitment to rebuild America’s infrastructure, including a special emphasis on rural communities,” said Case. “This funding to Central Electric Power Cooperative will improve the reliability of the electric transmission system for over 187,000 rural Missourians and is an excellent illustration of the Agency’s pledge to modernize and expand rural infrastructure.”
Missouri’s Central Electric Power Cooperative is receiving a $72 million loan to finance electric distribution and transmission facilities. The upgrades will supply peak loads, conform to safety requirements and improve the reliability and resiliency of the transmission system. Central Electric also will construct backup control center facilities to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of catastrophe. It serves approximately 187,000 residential and business consumers across 22,000 square miles in 28 counties in central Missouri. This project is being financed through USDA’s.
Today’s announcement came as part of a larger statement from Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley in which he said USDA is investing $485 million to upgrade rural electric systems (PDF, 102 KB) and reduce energy costs. The funding includes nearly $7.1 million for smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security. USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program for 10 projects in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. These investments will help build or improve 2,635 miles of line.
“Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is a proud partner to utilities and cooperatives delivering reliable, affordable power to rural communities,” Baxley said. “These loans will enhance rural economic development and help improve the quality of life for people who live and work in rural America.”
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/mo or by calling (573) 876-0976.
USDA Rural Development has 24 offices across the state to serve the 2.2 million residents living in rural Missouri. Office locations include a State Office in Columbia, along with local offices in Butler, Charleston, Chillicothe, Clinton, Dexter, Eldon, Farmington, Higginsville, Houston, Kennett, Kirksville, Maryville, Mexico, Moberly, Neosho, New London, Poplar Bluff, Richmond, Rolla, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Joseph, Troy, and West Plains.