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New RUS Administrator Appointed

President Obama has appointed Brandon McBride as the new Administrator of the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS).  Mr. McBride served as a Senior Professional Staff on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry from 2009 through his appointment.  Prior to that, he served as a Legislative Assistant and Grants Specialist for Senator Blanche Lincoln from 2003 to 2009...

Obama Administration Seeks $6 Billion Budget for RUS Program with Similar Previously-Rejected Restrictions on Lending

The Obama administration is pursuing a $6 billion budget for the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Electric Loan program’s 2016 fiscal year, a $500 million increase over the program’s 2015 fiscal year.  Reflecting the administration’s goal of phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, this budget has allocated $3 billion for environmental updates to existing fossil-fuel plants and another $3...

USDA Announces Efficiency Funding for Two Coops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service will provide $10.5 million in loans from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program to Roanoke Electric Membership Corporation and North Arkansas Electric Cooperative.  The funds will be used by members of the coops to invest in efficiency upgrades to their homes or businesses.  Click here to read...

Senate Agriculture Committee Raises Concerns about Proposed RUS Environmental Regulation

In its report accompanying spending legislation for fiscal year 2015, the Senate Agriculture Committee has directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development office to provide a report on the impact of a controversial regulation proposed by the USDA.  The regulation at issue would reclassify all loan transactions for Rural Utilities Service (RUS) borrowers as “major...

RUS Electric Loan Program at Risk?

Electric coops that borrow from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) could face unprecedented new requirements if a proposed federal rule is approved.  The rule, proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency, would reclassify many common activities associated with RUS loans in a way that triggers federally required environmental reviews, in addition to the...

Dairyland Receives White House Invitation

Nominated by the Rural Utilities Service, officials of Dairyland Power Cooperative will head to the White House for recognition of the coop’s ongoing efforts to promote and develop renewable energy projects.  Approximately 13 percent of Dairyland’s energy resources are comprised of renewable sources, which exceeds state renewable energy requirements.  Read more...

Bipartisan Support Builds for Size and Flexibility of RUS Lending Program

One hundred sixty-nine House members—89 Republicans and 80 Democrats—have voiced their support for the Obama Administration’s proposal to set funding of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Electric Loan Program at $5 billion for fiscal year 2015.  However, they have also asked that the House agriculture appropriations subcommittee reject the Administration’s proposal to earmark as much...

Passage of New Farm Bill to Help Coops

Congress has recently approved the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill), which President Obama is expected to sign into law.  The $956 billion legislation is being hailed by electric cooperatives as a step forward for rural America.  The Farm Bill includes several key beneficial items for rural electric cooperatives, including authorization of $75 million towards the Rural Energy...

Missouri Coop Refinances RUS Debt

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative recently refinanced $38.7 million in debt held by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS).  CoBank and the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Cooperation issued new debt for the refinancing transaction.  The cooperative cited better interest rates and the desire for flexibility outside of government-based borrowing as reasons for the decision to...

Coops Could Be Affected by Shutdown

Coops could feel the pinch of the federal government’s shutdown because agencies responsible for transmission and distribution could close until Congress successfully enacts a stopgap or long-term spending bill.  Generally, only those services deemed “essential” by federal officials will remain open.  One of the services affected will be the Rural Utilities Service, which will not make...

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