The Department of Agriculture Monday announced  $485 million of investment to rural electric systems across 13 states. 
The funding includes nearly $7.1 million for smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security. 
The loans, according to acting assistant to the secretary for rural development Joel Baxley, will “enhance rural economic development and help improve the quality of life for people who live and work in rural America.” 
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. 
Topping the list includes South Dakota’s Northern Electric Cooperative, which is receiving a $24.8 million loan to build or improve 360 miles of line, while Missouri’s Central Electric Power Cooperative is receiving a $72 million loan to finance electric distribution and transmission facilities. 
USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program to improve rural electric infrastructure in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. 
These investments will help build or improve 2,635 miles of line.

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