U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Missouri Jeff Case today announced a $12.3 million investment for the Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative Association to improve rural electric infrastructure in seven counties in northeast Missouri.
“Investing in modern rural electric infrastructure increases economic opportunity and improves the quality of life in rural communities,” said Case. “USDA commends Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative Association for improving in this infrastructure and continuing to build a foundation for northeast Missouri to grow and prosper.”
Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative Association is receiving a $12.3 million loan to improve electric infrastructure which will build 37 miles of new line, improve 26 additional miles of line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount also includes $179,300 for smart grid projects. Lewis County serves approximately 7,100 consumers through 2,491 miles of line in Adair, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Marion, Scotland, and Shelby counties.
Case’s announcement was made in coordination with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s nationwide announcement of USDA’s $345.5 million investment in 20 infrastructure projects to improve rural electric service in 14 states.
“Delivering reliable and affordable electricity to power rural America will help lay the groundwork for increased rural prosperity and economic opportunity,” Secretary Perdue said. “USDA is partnering with rural electric utilities and cooperatives so they can continue to invest in infrastructure improvements to provide electric power to those who live and work in rural areas.”
USDA is making the investments through the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program. It helps finance generation, transmission and distribution projects; system improvements; and energy conservation projects in communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
The loans include $7.9 million for smart grid technology. This includes computer applications, two-way communications, geospatial information systems and other tools to increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems. Below are a few examples of the projects USDA is funding in other states:
- In Colorado, the San Isabel Electric Association is receiving a $15.8 million loan to build 63 miles of line and improve 143 miles to serve consumers in Huerfano, Las Animas, Pueblo, Custer, Otero and Costilla counties. The area has a lot of economic activity centered around trade, coal, and oil and gas development. The loan includes $752,021 for smart grid projects.
- Minnesota’s Goodhue County Electric Cooperative Association will use a $7.75 million loan to construct 28 miles of line and improve 72 miles. The loan includes $315,000 for smart grid projects. Goodhue’s service territory is predominantly agricultural. Most non-farm employment is associated with agricultural and food processing activities.
- In Georgia, Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation will use a $61.2 million loan to build 302 miles of line and improve 110 miles. The loan includes $64,000 for smart grid projects. Agriculture and tourism are the major industries in Amicalola’s service territory.
USDA is announcing investments today in rural communities in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin. They underscore Secretary Perdue’s priority to promote rural economic development by centering around three principles: infrastructure, partnerships and innovation.
USDA’s investments in electric infrastructure have increased productivity and improved the quality of life in rural areas for nearly 80 years.
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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.