When you woke up this morning, chances are you turned on a light, took a shower in your bathroom, brushed your teeth with running water and checked the Internet. For too many people in Indian Country, this simple daily process is currently unattainable. Services most Americans take for granted are not always available in Indian Country.
Last week, I joined other USDA officials in attending the National Congress of American Indians Convention in Lincoln, Nebraska. I discussed all of the remarkable progress that USDA and Secretary Vilsack have made when it comes to supporting Native Americans, especially those who live on reservations or trust areas. Read more »
Rural Development Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein receives lesson in fiber splicing. Photo credit: USDA employee Delane Johnson.
On a recent visit to North Carolina, USDA Rural Development Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein visited Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation (ATMC) in Brunswick County, North Carolina. Read more »
Access to capital, cutting edge technology and more responsive government programs will help drive rural innovation, according to participants at a White House Business Council roundtable in Charles City, Iowa yesterday. Facilitated by USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Administrator Jonathan Adelstein, the forum drew a group of rural business leaders from around the region. They raised issues ranging from the length of time it takes to process passport and visa applications to new regulations on banks and financial institutions.
Adelstein, who is one of the Obama Administration’s leading advocates for rural broadband, heard an extensive discussion of the shortcomings of rural broadband in Charles City. At the same time, rural telephone cooperatives described their success working with RUS to improve their systems. Charles City Mayor Jim Erb told Adelstein there exists a “rural-rural” divide in which some communities receive exceptional broadband service while others do not. Adelstein said the Obama Administration is working to extend high speed broadband throughout rural America and that USDA programs may be able to help. The probability that economic development and job creation in rural areas will be driven by access to high speed broadband was stressed. Read more »
Officials from USDA met with business leaders in Rapid City, South Dakota to seek their input on ways federal, state and local officials can help improve economic conditions and create jobs. The session was the second White House Business Council meeting held; the first was held in Missouri. The meeting was hosted by Kristi Wagner, Program Developer with South Dakota Rural Enterprise, Inc. and facilitated by Jonathan Adelstein, Administrator of USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service, and a member of the White House Business Council on Winning the Future.
Adelstein said, “We heard really a lot of good advice from business leaders that are skilled in creating jobs in South Dakota. They’re sometimes frustrated with the government, they’re sometimes very happy about ways the government has helped them to succeed. And we’re trying to learn from the good things, we’re trying to streamline and get the bureaucracy out of the way and make sure regulation doesn’t inhibit job growth.” Adelstein says White House officials will leave Washington and reach out to the business leaders in every state by the middle of June. Read more »
Jonathan Adelstein, USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Administrator joined Colorado Rural Development Director Jim Isgar and representatives from Colorado’s congressional delegation for a ceremonial presentation at Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, Inc. in Windsor, Colorado.
The entity was recently awarded a $43 million Rural Electric Loan to connect 2,069 new consumers while building 54 miles of new distribution line. The funding is a win-win project for the co-op, the consumers are helped by offering a better and more reliable product and the co-op will be able to increase efficiency. The loan will allow the entity to make improvements to 186 miles of distribution lines. The project also includes $6.7 million in smart grid technologies, which will be used for technology, such as advanced metering and can provide data to consumers and utilities to better manage power use and costs. Read more »
I was honored to host a panel last week at the Department of Agriculture’s Ag Outlook Forum to showcase the impact of USDA broadband programs on so many in rural communities. Our February 25th Rural Development panel, “Building a Stronger Rural Infrastructure: Broadband,” portrayed the ripple effect these investments have.
We heard from Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which has provided electric power to consumers since WWII. They got into the broadband business because they recognized a need. Like many with a sense of community and knowledge of how broadband affects economic development, they successfully applied for Recovery Act broadband funding from USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency. “This will ultimately change the landscape of New Mexico,” Luis told the audience. “This is an opportunity for us to partner with colleges, health care facilities and the community to expand businesses, hire more employees, build markets and improve healthcare. To think that a small co-op in New Mexico can turn a project into a model program nationwide is exciting.” Read more »