USDA Rural Development invests $422 million in 2016 helping rural South Dakotans

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farm Forum

Huron, S.D. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development mission area invested $422 million in to rural South Dakota in 2016, as outlined in South Dakota’s 2016 Progress Report, providing housing opportunities for thousands of rural South Dakotans while also supporting a wide variety of job creation and community-improvement projects and activities.

“USDA’s focus is on the viability of rural communities and areas,” said USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Bruce Jones.

Highlights of USDA Rural Development’s 2016 investment in rural South Dakota include:

• $161 million in guaranteed and direct mortgage loan funds to assist 1,204 rural South Dakota families and individuals in purchasing homes.

• $95 million to help rural electric cooperatives make general infrastructure and system enhancements.

• $48.1 million to help 24 rural South Dakota communities make a variety of public safety improvements such as new hospitals, equipment, and emergency responder vehicles.

• $56.3 million to help create and retain jobs in rural South Dakota.

• $17.5 million to help independent rural telephone companies to expand services such as broadband to their customers.

• $19.6 million to help 20 communities improve their water and wastewater systems.

USDA Rural Development programs provide access to opportunities that not too long ago were only available to individuals living in big cities. USDA Rural Development programs provide alternatives to long drives and distant urban hubs. Our rural housing programs give families access to mortgages that allow them to buy a house in a small town. Our water and environmental programs ensure residents have access to clean water. Business programs support employers, empower entrepreneurs and open doors to capital markets that might not exist otherwise.

“Our agency is pleased to support rural communities with their infrastructure needs and support efforts to improve the quality of life for rural residents living in South Dakota’s rural communities,” Jones added. “We look forward to continuing to meet the needs of rural residents in Fiscal Year 2017.”

For example USDA Rural Development has been working with members of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe to increase access to fresh, locally produced food. Championing local food projects can help the tribe stimulate economic development and job creation, promote education and positive eating habits in schools, increase access to healthy foods, and provide opportunities for beginning farmers to learn effective farming and marketing practices. USDA Rural Development provided an $188,000 Rural Business Development Grant through USDA’s StrikeForce and Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative for a market study to determine demand for value-added foods in the area, and a feasibility study to help guide production of local foods.

Since 2009, $3.1 billion has been invested in South Dakota’s economy.

USDA Rural Development has eight offices in the state that assist rural communities. Office locations include a state office in Huron, along with area offices in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton. Additional information on Rural Development programs can be found at or contact a USDA Rural Development office nearest you.