USDA’s $10bn rural infra fund makes first round of investments

The fund has invested about $161m in 22 critical water and community facilities projects in 14 states.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made the first investments in rural infrastructure projects through its $10 billion US Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fundr.

The USDA, through the fund and its public-private partnerships, invested approximately $161 million in 22 critical water and community facilities projects in 14 states, according to a statement.

Out of the 22 projects selected for the first round of investments, half of them are water-related. Eleven critical water projects in California, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas will receive capital for works on upgrading the existing water systems and the construction of a new reservoir.

An anchor investor in the fund, CoBank committed $10 billion to lend in conjunction with the fund. CoBank is a member of the US Farm Credit System and a lender serving agri co-operatives. Capitol Peak Asset Management, the fund’s manager, is helping develop a pipeline of infrastructure related projects and investments as well as working to recruit additional investors and is providing capital advisory services to companies in rural America, according to the statement.

At least 38 additional critical infrastructure projects are in the pipeline for investment, the statement said.

Last year, the department created a $150 million privately-funded Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC), which has made three investments in rural businesses. Two venture capital firms announced in May that they are raising capital to become the latest privately-funded RBICs.