USDA Rural Development - The Director's Rural Infrastructure News

August 18, 2022

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small visited Missouri from Washington, D.C. yesterday to meet with USDA Rural Development (RD) staff and Total Highspeed staff for a round table event. This event was set up to mark the first home hook up stemming from their ReConnect Program projects in which Total Highspeed LLC of Nixa applied for loans/grants in Round 1 and Round 2. This resulted in 50/50 Loan/Grant in which they utilized ReConnect Loans of over $45 million and ReConnect Grants of over $45 million.

Ms. Torres Small oversees all USDA RD loans and grants to provide infrastructure improvements; business development; affordable housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal, and high-poverty areas.

USEC and SD at Roundtable event

The ReConnect event was held Monday at the Total Highspeed fiber building in Nixa. The roundtable discussion with Secretary Torres Small, Rural Development staff, Total Highspeed and shareholders in the project allowed for an understanding of what is working well and what challenges have been identified. “Success is only achievable with partners like you”, Secretary Torres Small said to the participants of the event. USDA RD looks forward to continuing the progress of providing high-speed internet to rural Missouri.

Total Highspeed Roundtable Event

Many of the rural communities around Springfield were not being served with high-speed internet. The owner of Total Highspeed LLC wanted to find a way that all customers could access Fiber for their high-speed internet. Total Highspeed was the first entity in the state of Missouri to be awarded a loan/grant from the ReConnect program and this project includes parts of five rural counties around Springfield. The businesses in the rural counties are competing with businesses in larger cities, like Springfield, and a Fiber connection will help make them competitive. This project will bring Fiber to the rural communities in an efficient manner to as many homes and businesses as possible. The partnership between Total Highspeed and USDA Rural Development will provide a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 48,727 people, 720 farms, 417 businesses, 9 fire stations and 5 public schools to high-speed internet in 5 Missouri counties in Southwest Missouri.

Project Map

The bottom line is, without the ReConnect program partnering with entities like Total Highspeed, the Fiber infrastructure would not be constructed in these rural communities, as a result, their population would dwindle. Due to the increasing dependence on access to high-speed internet for computer and smart phone use, these types of projects will help stabilize the rural towns in Missouri, as well as draw in new residents and businesses.

Essential community infrastructure is key to ensuring that people living in rural areas have access to resources and services that allow them to enjoy a high quality of life. With those resources available, rural Missouri communities can thrive.

Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

Rural Development staff live and work in the very communities they serve. From one neighbor to another, let us know if you need us. Always feel free to reach out to us at Rural Development by visiting our website, emailing us at, or calling us at (573) 876-0976 to get more information on any of USDA Rural Development’s programs.

Thank you,

Kyle Wilkens

USDA Rural Development Missouri State Director