USDA invests in Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate’s food sovereignty efforts

Farm Forum

Huron, South Dakota – USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Bruce Jones recently announced the selection of a grant recipient that is receiving financing to help spur business development in rural South Dakota. The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (SWO) is receiving a $188,100 Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) through USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative.

“The funding will be used 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,” said Jones.

USDA Rural Development in South Dakota is 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’s RBDGs are designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and let than $1 million in gross revenues.

In 2015, USDA Rural Development invested $258 million in rural South Dakota businesses and communities.

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.