CoBank committing $10 billion to get rural development fund off the ground

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is hoping a new rural development fund will lure new investors and investments in rural regions.

The White House Rural Council announced July 24 the creation of the new U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund through which private entities can invest in job-creating rural infrastructure projects across the country.

CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving rural America and a member of the Farm Credit System, is the fund’s anchor investor, committing $10 billion to get the fund off the ground.

Target investments will include hospitals, schools and other educational facilities, rural water and wastewater systems, energy projects, broadband expansion, local and regional food systems, and other rural infrastructure.

Capitol Peak Asset Management will manage the new fund and work to recruit more investors to add to CoBank’s initial commitment.

Work with USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies will help to identify rural projects that could be potential beneficiaries of financing through this new fund and other private sources.

The announcement was made during the first-ever White House Rural Opportunity Investment Conference that brought together business and financial community leaders, administration and other government officials, rural development experts, and others to promote investment opportunities in America’s rural communities.

The fund is immediately open for business and more investors can now add to the initial $10 billion in available capital. The fund will allow a wide variety of new participants, including pension funds, endowments, foundations, and other institutional investors that have not traditionally had access to these markets to invest in rural development.

In some cases, projects may be funded entirely through private sector dollars. In others, private dollars may be leveraged with and extend critical government loan and grant programs.

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