Rural telecoms in four states will receive loans totaling nearly $40 million from the Agriculture Department to build fiber-optic networks via the Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday. The USDA earmarked the biggest chunk, $24.9 million, for Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, which operates in South Dakota and Minnesota. Roughly $7.6 million is going to Iowa's Keystone Farmers Cooperative Telephone for broadband expansion in its two-county area, and the USDA is lending the remaining $7.3 million to Oregon's Colton Telephone.

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