USDA invests in Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative to make infrastructure improvements

Staff reports
Farm Forum

HURON, S.D. – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for South Dakota Julie Gross announced that Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative has been selected to receive funding of $7,364,000 for rural electric infrastructure improvements.

“USDA is pleased to assist rural communities with building and expanding electric infrastructure,” said Gross. “This project will benefit 3,422 consumers over 1,482 miles of line in Roberts, Codington and Grant counties in northeastern South Dakota.”

Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative is headquarted in Milbank, SD. The federal funding will be used to build and improve 116 miles of line serving 146 new consumers and invest $305,100 in smart grid technologies to improve system efficiencies and resilience.

Gross’ announcement is in coordination with the recent announcement made by Rural Utilities Service Administrator Chad Rupe today announcing that USDA is investing $181 million to upgrade rural electric systems in 10 states.

USDA is providing financing for 12 projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin through the Electric Loan Program. The funding will help build and improve 1,354 miles of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas.

USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks. Congress appropriated $5.5 billion for USDA’s Electric Loan Program in fiscal year 2019.