Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $1.6 billion in 46 rural electric utility infrastructure projects to improve electric reliability and resilience in 24 states, including one project in South Dakota.
“Reliable and affordable power is an underpinning for economic development and quality of life,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in building prosperity in rural communities through the sustainment and modernization of rural electric infrastructure.”
The 46 projects announced today are being funded through USDA’s Electric Program. These investments will help contribute to a stronger rural electric system by improving operations and reliability. USDA’s funding will help build or improve 5,833 miles of line. It includes $307 million in smart grid technologies, which improve system operations and monitor grid security. These investments will benefit 7 million rural business and residential electric consumers across the country. South Dakota’s project:
Clay-Union Electric Corporation, based in Vermillion, will use a $7.67 million loan to build 27 miles of line, improve 60 miles and make other system improvements, including an investment of $67,000 in smart grid technologies. Clay-Union serves 3,665 residential and commercial consumers over 1,168 miles of line in southeastern South Dakota. Agriculture – specifically beef, corn and soybeans – is the major economic sector in the area
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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.