Ken Johnson heading to D.C. for USDA appointment

The chief executive officer of a rural electric cooperative that serves many lake area residents has been appointed by President Donald Trump to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service Administrator based in Washington, DC. 

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative’s CEO Ken Johnson’s appointment was announced earlier this week. Johnson will lead the The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), that administers programs that provide much-needed infrastructure to rural communities. The programs include water and waste treatment, electric power, and telecommunications services. 

The House Agriculture Committee, on which Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler serves, oversees the Rural Utilities Services (RUS).

In an announcement from Hartzler, she said Johnson’s qualifications and experiences make him well suited to lead the Rural Utilities Service within USDA. 

“He led the way in our state to deploy a fiber-to-the-home network to all of Co-Mo Co-op’s members without federal or state funding, providing gigabit internet, video, and voice services to nearly 16,000 subscribers. This has had a huge impact on my constituents,” Hartzler said. “As we work to close the digital divide between those who have high-speed internet and those who do not, it is important to have leaders like Ken who have a real understanding of the technological challenges facing rural America and Missouri. I look forward to Ken’s leadership at the USDA to help provide quality broadband internet to our rural communities.”

Ken Johnson currently serves as the CEO and General Manager of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative in Tipton, Missouri where he has provided reliable electricity to the customers of Co-Mo’s multi-county service area and where he has also been an innovator by leading Co-Mo’s initiative to provide gigabit-speed internet to these rural communities.

Co-Mo’s service area comprises approximately 2,300 square miles in central Missouri, including the west side of Lake of the Ozarks.

Johnson is a director and past president for Central Electric Power Cooperative, a director for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and served on the Executive and Legislative committees.  

He was General Manager for Twin Valleys PPD in Nebraska after beginning his career with the Nebraska Public Power District. He earned an undergraduate degree from Kearney State College, and is a graduate of the NRECA Robert I. Kabat Management Internship Program. Johnson grew up on a farm near Edgar, Nebraska and has spent his life working and serving rural America. He and his wife enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.