INDIANAPOLIS - Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley says the USDA is investing $122 million to upgrade rural electric systems in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Southern Indiana Rural Electric Cooperative Inc. will use a $10.5 million loan to expand 92 miles of line to enhance system operations for 600 rural users.

The funding also includes more than $7 million to finance smart grid technologies to improve system operations and monitor grid security.

“Modern and reliable electric infrastructure is foundational to building prosperity in rural America,” Baxley said in a news release. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in improving this essential infrastructure.”

The USDA is currently investing in seven projects through funds from the Electric Loan Program. The loans will help build or improve 964 miles of line to benefit more than 6,200 business and residential customers.

To view the full report on the fund, click here.