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