Ag Development Center receives USDA funding

Farm Forum

Huron – USDA Rural Development staff participated in a ceremony today, held in collaboration with Value Added Day at the South Dakota State Fair, for the Value Added Agriculture Development Center (VAADC) where South Dakota USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks presented a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) in the amount of $99,950 for the VAADC to assist small and emerging private businesses in Shannon County.

“The grant funds will be used to facilitate new economic opportunities in the StrikeForce region and in a persistent poverty county. The Value Added Agriculture Development Center provides the service to capitalize on those ideas,” said Meeks. The primary goal of the StrikeForce initiative is to increase partnership with rural communities and leverage community resources in targeted, persistent poverty communities.

The mission of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center (Ag Center) is to foster creation of producer-owned, valued-added agriculture by offering technical and staff support and championing value-added agriculture by educating producers, lenders and the public on value-added concepts. The Ag Center provides services to potential and established rural cooperatives in South Dakota and the surrounding area.

“As South Dakota’s agribusiness development hub for nearly 15 years, we provide a menu of technical assistance services, such as business planning, siting and funding, to help rural based ventures strengthen our economy by value adding our crops and livestock,” said Randy Englund, VAADC President.

According to VAADC Executive Director Cheri Rath,”The VAADC is unique in that we provide ‘hands on’ agribusiness development services to guide our clients through startup and expansion processes.” She added, “We’re looking forward to utilizing the REBG funds to create a small agribusiness that will offer resources to increase buffalo production in one of our most remote rural areas.”