U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.4 billion in projects in 21 states (PDF, 143 KB) to build and improve rural electric infrastructure.
“Modern and reliable electric infrastructure has been a cornerstone to rural prosperity since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936,” Secretary Perdue said. “This funding we are providing is critical to rural communities and reflects President Trump’s commitment to increasing prosperity across all of rural America. When rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program. It will help build and improve 6,886 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. The loans include $255.8 million for investments in smart grid infrastructure that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
- Midwest Energy Cooperative will use its $63.75 million loan to build and improve 1,193 miles of distribution line, connecting 1,160 new customers. The new lines include 988 miles of fiber backbone for smart grid communications improvements across the electric operating system, including upgrades to metering and grid management systems. Headquartered in Cassopolis, Michigan, Midwest Energy Cooperative serves about 36,000 customers over 4,240 miles of line in 10 Michigan and Indiana counties, plus two counties in northern Ohio.
- Mid-Ohio Energy Cooperative will use its $8 million loan to connect 220 customers, upgrade 52 miles of line, and make improvements to substations and metering points. A nonprofit distribution cooperative based in Kenton, Mid-Ohio provides electric service to about 8,100 customers over 1,333 miles of line in 10 north-central Ohio counties.
- Consolidated Electric Cooperative will use its $14.9 million loan to connect 659 customers and build and improve nearly 70 miles of line, implementing smart grid technology to positively impact system performance and reliability. Headquartered in Mt. Gilead, Consolidated serves more than 17,000 rural customers
In addition to Ohio, USDA announced investments today in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
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.