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Category: USDA

What a Week….and it’s only Wednesday!

What a Week….and it’s only Wednesday!

I always love the energy that comes when NTCA members come into town and hit the Hill and key agencies to share their stories and perspective on building broadband in rural America.  With a ton of recent activity – the recent order from the FCC finding reserves to make up some of the budget shortfall, the FNPRM on the future of building high-cost networks, upcoming CAF II auctions, a new RUS funding program in the Omnibus measure approved by Congress,…

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#AgOutlook and Rural Prosperity

#AgOutlook and Rural Prosperity

It was most gracious of USDA to extend an invitation to me to speak at their annual #AgOutlook conference here in the DC area yesterday – particularly with a focus on Rural Prosperity and all that that entails. I was on their E-Connectivity panel and shared the space with one of the top USDA economists who spend a lot of timing thinking, pondering, measuring and analyzing broadband statistics as well as with a GM of an electric cooperative in Michigan…

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A New Leader At RUS

A New Leader At RUS

Last night I received a “heads up” call before the official notice came out shortly afterwards touting that USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was applauding President Trump’s intent to appoint Kenneth Johnson, current General Manager/CEO of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative and President for Co-Mo Connect in Missouri as the newest RUS Administrator.  Johnson started his career in the electric utility industry in Nebraska and is a director and past president for Central Electric Power Cooperative in Missouri, where he has…

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Exciting Day for Rural Prosperity in Nashville

Exciting Day for Rural Prosperity in Nashville

I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Nashville today to join with a number of our Rebuild Rural coalition allies in hearing directly from the President about his objectives for rural prosperity in the wake of a report presented to him by a task force chaired by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.  We are deeply grateful to the President, the Secretary, and the many leaders and staffers throughout this administration for their commitment to rural America, and the recommendations captured…

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A Day At USDA

A Day At USDA

Today I had the pleasure of meeting with USDA to talk about infrastructure plans for 2018. Check out my short vlog to see what we discussed. Our terrific, media savvy team has encouraged me to do more vblogs but I clearly have a comfort zone of my own which includes showing more of the USDA headquarters building than my face as well as finding a quiet spot to do this….however, I still had pre-holiday DC tourists basically looking at me…

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USDA Secretary Perdue Calls “Cutting Red Tape” Discussion

USDA Secretary Perdue Calls “Cutting Red Tape” Discussion

I was finally able to meet our new USDA Secretary Perdue today at his roundtable “rap session” that he and his team had pulled together for today to talk about how to cut red tape at USDA and “liberate America from bureaucracy.”  The Secretary reiterated the White House’s commitment to find ways to streamline processes and eliminate excess regulation in an effort to create jobs and generate economic growth.  All of that is good news for rural America if things…

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Talking Rural Broadband with USDA

Talking Rural Broadband with USDA

USDA was hopping today with a meeting on rural prosperity down one end of a hallway and a meeting that Tom Wacker and I had with Anne Hazlett, the new Rural Development Assistant to the Secretary down another. We were also joined in the meeting by Jannine Miller who has joined USDA as the Senior Advisor for Rural Infrastructure and between the four of us, could have spent three hours instead of just the one talking about rural broadband. Hazlett…

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Hazlett Leads Rural Development and Chats with NTCA Members

Hazlett Leads Rural Development and Chats with NTCA Members

Anne Hazlett was on day 12 on the job yesterday when she swung by the NTCA Government Affairs Committee meeting in Arlington, Virginia to introduce herself to NTCA members and hear some of their stories as they continue their leadership role in bringing broadband to their rural communities. Hazlett has a long career in the rural development having recently served as the Chief Counsel to the Majority on the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry before her…

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A lot Happening in Washington DC Today

A lot Happening in Washington DC Today

There never is a dull moment here in Washington DC and today we were brought into the discussion that USDA Secretary Perdue was announcing a reorganization of the critical rural agency. NTCA felt it was important to weigh in on the news. The Rural Development programs within USDA are critical to national goals with respect to promoting the availability of infrastructure throughout the United States. The Rural Utilities Service in particular has played and will continue to play an essential…

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Sharing Thoughts with the USDA Transition Team

Sharing Thoughts with the USDA Transition Team

Tom Wacker and I headed over to USDA today to meet with folks at RUS and those involved in the Trump Administration as they look to set the course at USDA for the new administration. We spent time walking through NTCA’s membership – who they are, where they serve and the challenges they face serving the high-cost rural portions of America. The role that the RUS lending program plays is a critical one in terms of meeting the needs of…

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