Electric Co-ops Applaud Rural Development, Broadband Provisions of House Farm Bill

ARLINGTON, Va. – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson today applauded the inclusion of electric co-op priorities in the House Farm Bill:

“The Farm Bill is an essential tool to strengthen rural America and drive our nation’s economy,” Matheson said. “Provisions in the House Farm Bill will enable electric cooperatives to continue improving the quality of life in America’s communities. We strongly support efforts to expand rural broadband access and fortify rural development programs, both of which are essential for rural America to fully participate in the 21st century economy. We encourage Congress to continue working to reauthorize the Farm Bill before it expires this year.”

The House legislation would create a broadband grant program at USDA to better target rural areas that need it most and create workable solutions to bridge the digital divide. The proposal also provides support for other rural development programs that help electric co-ops modernize the electric grid while undertaking innovative, cost-effective energy projects.

Matheson recently called for the Farm Bill to invest in rural America by including:

  • Additional funding for rural broadband grants and loans.
  • Support for proven rural economic development programs.
  • Accelerating energy innovation in the development of renewable energy resources and electric grid modernization.
  • Funding for rural electrification programs.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.