USDA announces $2.6 million in grants for Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

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Farm Forum

PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION, S.D. – On September 29, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack awarded $2.6 million in grants for seven projects to support economic development and improve the economy on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

“Investing in and rebuilding hard-hit communities are important parts of this Administration’s plan to ensure that every child has a fair chance at success,” Vilsack said. “Working in conjunction with our public and private partners, USDA is supporting much-needed infrastructure and economic development improvements to help create jobs, improve access to education opportunities and quality, affordable housing, and reduce crime throughout the Pine Ridge community.”

The projects being financed by USDA Rural Development include:

• $1.85 million for a Water and Waste Disposal grant to Oglala Lakota College to construct a cell for the solid waste landfill, construct a building, make repairs and purchase equipment.

• $160,800 for a Community Facilities Tribal College Initiative grant to Oglala Lakota College for a communications/phone system for the main campus in Kyle.

• $134,259 for a Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant to the InterTribal Buffalo Council to provide training and teach best practices to socially disadvantaged ag producers for disease management programs.

• $49,500 for a Rural Business Development Grant to the Value Added Agriculture Development Center, based in Pierre, S.D., to teach local businesses in Oglala Lakota County, which is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, how to commercially process and successfully market buffalo meat.

• $48,700 for a Community Facilities Grant to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety to purchase two police vehicles in Oglala.

· $18,800 for a Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative grant to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety to purchase a police vehicle in Oglala Lakota County.

Also, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is providing:

• $375,000 for a Community Food Projects grant to the Thunder Valley Development Corporation to strengthen food sovereignty on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The project will enhance local food systems through an agriculture demonstration farm and education center that will include a community garden, greenhouse, food education program and workforce development training for local farmers. It also will establish a local food coalition to expand local, healthy food distribution systems to food outlets on the reservation.

Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

In April 2015, the Obama Administration designated the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe one of eight new Promise Zones. Promise Zones are high-poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other community-identified priorities.