ARLINGTON, Va. – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson today released the following statement on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s comments on the Farm Bill and rural economic development:
“We are pleased that Secretary Perdue recognizes the vital role of rural development in this year’s Farm Bill. Electric cooperatives are engines of economic development and technology drivers in rural communities, including providing energy and broadband solutions to farmers and other businesses that enhance their competitiveness. Investing in rural infrastructure is the foundation of rural innovation and prosperity.
“Maintaining and improving the rural electric grid and providing access to high-speed Internet must be part of any rural economic development package. Electric co-ops are leading on both fronts, partnering with states and communities to strengthen the grid and improve access to broadband.
“The Farm Bill is an important vehicle for facilitating the innovative work of electric cooperatives in energy and broadband services as well as their role as economic development organizations in the communities they serve. There are many programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that are crucial to the prosperity of rural areas. We look forward to working with Secretary Perdue, the White House and Congress to ensure that the 2018 Farm Bill addresses the many pressing issues facing rural Americans.”
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.