USDA awards ReConnect grants to rural broadband projects in 12 states

USDA is awarding nearly $170 million to rural broadband projects in 12 states through its ReConnect competitive grant program.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the investments will be used to deploy infrastructure in areas lacking sufficient access to high-speed internet.

“Farmers need this technology to fully embrace precision agriculture, to lower input costs, and increase productivity and profit on their farms. They also need it to be sure they have access to real-time market information as they make key decisions for their operations.”

On a call with reporters, Vilsack says Wednesday’s announcement is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect program.

“This is a competitive process, and people make applications and indicate the extent to which they can provide access and expanded access.”

He says USDA has already invested $1.5 billion under the program and expects to begin inviting applications for another round of funds in the coming weeks.

Brownfield states included in the latest round of funding include Missouri and Tennessee.

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