HURON, S.D. – Julie Gross, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development state director in South Dakota, announced year-end accomplishments achieved in 2018 for South Dakota totaling more than $440 million. This announcement coincides with Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s national announcement of accomplishments that the USDA achieved in 2018 to build prosperity in rural communities.
“Our agency has worked hard to create innovative ways to collaborate and implement best practices impacting rural prosperity,” said Gross. “By collaborating with partners and stakeholders, we have built upon the mission of creating economic opportunities and improving the quality of life of rural South Dakotans.”
Here are a few highlights of South Dakota USDA Rural Development’s accomplishments for the 2018 fiscal year:
- Helped finance 2 distance learning and telemedicine projects to use e-Connectivity at 51 hub and end-user sites to serve 412,426 rural residents and workers in more than 36 counties.
- Supported the construction or improvement of 944 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines for rural electric infrastructure. These investments will benefit more than 25,372 business and residential consumers.
- Provided new or improved broadband service to 6,300 rural households and businesses.
- Helped finance 25 projects to provide new or improved water and wastewater services for 82,160 rural residents.
- Worked with rural communities by providing financing for 17 essential community facilities projects such as schools, libraries, first responders, and municipal centers. These investments will serve 57,393 people.
- Helped support the construction of 4 community infrastructure projects for streets, transportation, solar arrays, and water and storm water resources. These investments will serve 29,164 people who live and work in rural areas.
- Provided financing to 76 rural businesses that created or saved nearly 573 jobs.
- Developed a pilot program to help Native American families on tribal lands buy homes. Two CDFIs, Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial in Pine Ridge and Four Bands Community Fund in Eagle Butte, are institutions in good standing with USDA. Each received $800,000 in Section 502 direct loan funding from USDA and will be responsible for contributing $200,000 in additional funds to pilot the project. These funds will be used to relend to Native American Families in tribal communities in South Dakota and North Dakota that meet the program’s requirements.
- USDA Rural Development held a webinar through the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development and presented an overview of agency programs to economic developers, community leaders, and planning districts across the state.
Housing programs have provided 1,196 families with a place to call home. In addition, 3,901 rental assistance and vouchers for low-income families totaled $19,272,221. The rental assistance and voucher program are offered to qualified low-income seniors and families living in USDA Rural Development financed apartment complexes throughout the state.