WASHINGTON, July 24 The Obama administration on
Thursday launched a $10 billion rural infrastructure fund that
it hopes will jump-start investments in a wide range of projects
in farm states.
CoBank, a cooperative bank that serves rural America and is
a member of the Farm Credit System, will be the fund's anchor
investor, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
"Many major investors in urban centers aren't always aware
of the significant investment opportunities in rural
communities," said Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary and chair of the
White House Rural Council.
"This fund represents a new approach to our support for
job-creating projects across the country."
Denver-based investment firm Capital Peak Asset Management
will manage the new fund and work to recruit more investors.
USDA and other federal agencies will help identify suitable
rural projects for funding.
Target investments will include community assets, including
housing, healthcare and educational projects, rural water and
wastewater systems, rural energy projects, broadband expansion
efforts, local and regional food systems, and other
Although the U.S. heartland has enjoyed several years of
economic prosperity from high crop and livestock prices, states
have also faced a long-term population drain because of limited
job opportunities, and often lag on access to healthcare, speedy
Internet access and other facilities.
The council, created in 2011, this week held its first
conference to promote potential investment opportunities across
rural America, attracting leaders from the business community
and banks, government officials including Treasury Secretary
Jack Lew, development experts and others.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; editing by Matthew Lewis)