Congressman Randy Feenstra visits Emmetsburg service center

NRECA may not be holding an in-person legislative conference in 2021, but that doesn’t mean Corn Belt Power stopped visiting with its legislators.

On Tuesday, April 6, first-term U.S. Representative Randy Feenstra visited Corn Belt Power’s Emmetsburg office location. The stop was part of Feenstra’s promised 39 county tour. Feenstra says he will visit all 39 counties in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District twice each year. As he puts it, “When I was sworn in as a member of Congress, I promised 4th District Iowans that I would work tirelessly to bring their voices to Washington. It has always been a top priority to ensure my constituents have a seat at the table when decisions are being made that affect our farmers, families, and rural Main Street businesses.”

At his Emmetsburg stop, Rep. Feenstra visited with employees from Corn Belt Power, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative and the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives. The group spoke to Rep. Feenstra on issues ranging from Rural Utilities Service (RUS) loan refinancing to biofuels and the 2023 Farm Bill.

On RUS loan refinancing, Cooperatives across the country are lobbying Congress to allow for the refinancing of existing loans. Unlike most other private debt, RUS borrowing utilities cannot refinance loans at lower rates. This bill would allow electric cooperatives to refinance these loans, giving those organizations significant interest savings to help meet the immediate needs of the Iowa communities cooperatives serve and to be a part of the nation’s COVID-19 recovery in the long run. Those in attendance also spoke with Rep. Feenstra on the 2023 Farm Bill and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG). Every 5 years, Iowa’s electric cooperatives’ central focus is on the provisions debated by federal lawmakers and USDA agency officials. Many co-ops in Iowa and across the country still rely on RUS funding programs to provide the foundations needed in order to provide electricity to our most rural citizens. Further, and perhaps as important, are the USDA programs that help electric co-ops provide support and sustainability to the communities they serve. The REDLG program is Iowa electric co-ops’ marquee economic support program that has yielded over a billion dollars in investments, created or retained tens of thousands of jobs, and helped prop up several hundred communities in our state. Corn Belt Power and its member-cooperatives have a combined $20 million in REDLG funds.

 “We thank Rep. Feenstra for visiting our Emmetsburg location,” said Ryan Cornelius, vice president, corporate relations, Corn Belt Power. “It was a great first meeting with the new Congressman and we look forward to working with him to advance cooperative initiatives for years to come.”

Feenstra ended his visit by thanking line workers and other employees in attendance for continuing to enhance the quality of life in the areas they serve.