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Commodity Communicator Weekly

October 12, 2012

SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO IMPROVE ELECTRIC SERVICE IN RURAL COMMUNITIES…..Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced funding to modernize and improve the efficiency of rural electric generation and transmission systems. The announcement was made on the Secretary's behalf by Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager.

"USDA and the Obama administration continue to make key investments in rural electric cooperatives that will modernize service and improve reliability for rural businesses and residential customers," Tonsager said. "Today's announcement also includes funding that will enable rural electric cooperatives and utilities to adopt smart grid technologies in their operation as part of the ongoing efforts to modernize rural America's electric grid."

Secretary Vilsack announced in August that USDA had met its goal to finance $250 million in smart grid technologies in fiscal year 2012. Today's announcement includes additional support of $134 million in smart grid technologies. In Arkansas, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation will receive $245,000,000. Funds will be used to acquire Hot Spring Generating Facility, a 660 MW natural gas-fired, combined-cycle electric generating plant.(covers communities in Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas)

…..Speaking at the opening session of the first of four regional workshops to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery efforts, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the lack of a new five-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill has the potential to delay and stifle the federal response.

"USDA is doing all we can, but key programs traditionally made available in times of disaster are in limbo because Congress has allowed our authority to deliver them to expire," said Vilsack. "As I travel the country, it is clear to me that farmers and ranchers are aware of the gravity of the situation, and the need for Congress to act."

Vilsack indicated that President Obama had directed federal agencies to take every possible step to help farmers and ranchers, businesses, and rural communities recover as a result of one of the country's worst droughts in decades. USDA is partnering with local, state and federal partners to hold the workshops, working closely with the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to facilitate these meetings.

FARM BUREAU VEHICLE PURCHASE PROGRAM. . . . . Members now have a better way to buy a new or used vehicle through this easy to use program.  Benefits include in-depth price reports, target prices, estimated values and certified dealers.  The $500 GM incentive for members is already built into the system for qualifying vehicles.  Complete details at

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