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Category: Rural Development

Steamy Savannah Sets the Stage for Strategy Skills for NTCA Attendees

Steamy Savannah Sets the Stage for Strategy Skills for NTCA Attendees

Heading back from hot and humid but lovely and hospitable Savannah, Georgia as we wrap up our inaugural Summer Symposiums for the year. Nearly 400 NTCA rural broadband providers gathered for a few days of focusing on what matters, strategic thinking, good governance policies, the latest in advocacy topics for the industry, cybersecurity and a host of other topics relevant to ensuring that the time in a company’s boardroom is time well spent. The opportunity to hit on these critical…

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I Like Puppies, Chocolate…and Partnerships!

I Like Puppies, Chocolate…and Partnerships!

The dictionary defines partnership as “an association of two or more people as partners”.  The legal notation is that a partnership is an arrangement where parties, know as partners, agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.  The partners in a partnership may be individuals, businesses, interest-based organizations, schools, governments etc.”  What makes it special in my book?  When it’s an NTCA community broadband provider partnering with another NTCA member, community entity or even another local utility to find ways…

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Hurray for Congress Moving a Farm Bill

Hurray for Congress Moving a Farm Bill

Every five years, Congress renews its priorities to agriculture and rural America by passing a farm bill with all the rural development and agriculture programs under the purview of USDA. The existing legislation funded programs through 2018 and the clock was literally ticking as the 115th Congress winds down here in Washington, D.C. A collective sigh went out this afternoon as an agreement was reached and the Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill Conference report by a vote of 87-13…

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Making a Difference Close to Home

Making a Difference Close to Home

I loved seeing the smile on Doug Boone, CEO of Premier Communications in Iowa, as he sat between the Governor of Iowa and the CEO of The Boeing Company at an airport opening a few weeks ago. That smile is well earned because as a local community leader, Doug put a fair amount of effort into working statewide to have a small regional airport open in their part of northwest Iowa. It’s evident that this economic development event was significant…

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When Washington DC Meets Rural South Dakota

When Washington DC Meets Rural South Dakota

NTCA’s Foundation for Rural Service does so very much for the rural broadband industry and even more for the communities that these companies serve—but one of my favorite FRS activities is their annual trek out of D.C. with a gaggle of Capitol Hill staffers and into the real world (i.e. out of D.C.!) to see how rural networks are built and to help them better understand the challenges of broadband deployment where the land is vast and the people far…

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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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One Last Catch-Up With Rural Utility Leaders

One Last Catch-Up With Rural Utility Leaders

With only a limited number of days left on the calendar for the year, my colleagues in the rural utility industry cleared time off of our schedules to find a common meeting space for lunch so we could compare notes as we wind down with 2017 and head into the New Year. Jim Matheson, head of NRECA (the electric coop association) and Sheldon Peterson, head of CFC/RTFC (a major lender to the rural utilities) and I met up in Tyson’s…

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White House and Rural Prosperity Council Talk Rural Infrastructure

White House and Rural Prosperity Council Talk Rural Infrastructure

Tax reform might be taking up whatever oxygen is actually left on Capitol Hill but today Brian Ford and I headed over to the White House for a meeting on rural infrastructure.    Traffic was light so we made it there with more than enough time to spare so after I dragged Brian for a White House selfie and coo’ed over the security dogs as we made our way through the official visitor’s entrance, that still left plenty of time to…

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Smart Rural Community Field Trip to Maine With Senator and Commissioner

Smart Rural Community Field Trip to Maine With Senator and Commissioner

You can tell that you’re in Maine when most of the traffic on the highway alongside you are caravans of logging trucks!  After a journey across the country on Tuesday night, I knew that my last stop was Portland, Maine because I was the only person boarding the place in the Detroit Metro airport who did not have hiking boots and a backpack on.  I was a tad jealous! Josh Seidemann, our Smart Rural Community (SRC) guru,  and I met up…

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“Make the Dirt Talk”

“Make the Dirt Talk”

What a treat it was on Friday to reconnect with Billy Tiller, former board member for Five Area Telephone Cooperative in Muleshoe, Texas, who served on the board when he was right out of school for 12 years – during some really informative times in this industry. Billy then went on to not only run a large ranch in Texas, but he also started AgPro Exchange, a company that uses data to manage agriculture interests in the 21st Century.  With…

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