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  • Co-ops welcome energy and economic development provisions in new Farm Bill

    Jo Ann Emerson is President/CEO of the National Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.

    Jo Ann Emerson is President/CEO of the National Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.

    Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), in February con­gratulated the Senate on passing the Farm Bill. “Electric cooperatives appreciate the hard work, long hours and many difficult compromises that were necessary to pass a final bill. Cooperatives serve 93 percent of the nation’s ­‘persistent poverty counties’ and see first-hand the need for the rural economic development programs contained in this bill.

    “In addition, not-for-profit, ­member-owned electric ­cooperatives look forward to partnering with the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to implement meaningful ­improvements to the electric loan program. In ­particular, at a time when the ­economy continues to struggle in rural areas, the Farm Bill’s RUS ­provisions expand ­cooperatives’ ability to make low-interest efficiency loans to ­consumer-members to help reduce their energy costs and consumption. The positive impact of this bill will be lasting and significant,” Emerson said.

    “As both a farmer and a co-op leader, I know agriculture has been an economic anchor, helping stabilize the economies of small rural communities where electric co-ops serve,” said Duane Noland, President/CEO of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives. “Just the ­improvements made to the crop insurance program in this Farm Bill will help improve risk management for farmers, and in turn add stability to the farm ­economy.”

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