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Thanks to USDA, Vision Becomes Reality for Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate

Groundbreaking:  From left to right:  Rural Development Manager Janell Telin, Norman Perko – Council Member, Michael McCafferty – Dakota Nation Housing Development Authority, Winfred Rondell – Council Member, Joyce Country – Council Member, Rural Development Area Director Bruce Jones, Dale Bouer – Architect, Dave Red Thunder – Council Member, Steve Laughlin – primary designer on this project,  Ed Red Owl – Chairman’s Attendant, Michael Selvage – Tribal Chairman for the Sisseton Whapeton Oyate, Jesse Larsen – Tribal Facility Manager, Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks, Tonya Peterson – Senator Johnson’s Staff, Terri Larsen – Council Member, Garryl Rousseau – Vice Chairman for the Sisseton Whapeton Oyate, Connie Williams – Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s Staff, and  Judy Vrchota – Senator John Thune’s Staff.

Groundbreaking: From left to right: Rural Development Manager Janell Telin, Norman Perko – Council Member, Michael McCafferty – Dakota Nation Housing Development Authority, Winfred Rondell – Council Member, Joyce Country – Council Member, Rural Development Area Director Bruce Jones, Dale Bouer – Architect, Dave Red Thunder – Council Member, Steve Laughlin – primary designer on this project, Ed Red Owl – Chairman’s Attendant, Michael Selvage – Tribal Chairman for the Sisseton Whapeton Oyate, Jesse Larsen – Tribal Facility Manager, Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks, Tonya Peterson – Senator Johnson’s Staff, Terri Larsen – Council Member, Garryl Rousseau – Vice Chairman for the Sisseton Whapeton Oyate, Connie Williams – Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s Staff, and Judy Vrchota – Senator John Thune’s Staff.

In the mid-1970’s, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Sioux Tribe) relocated from a small tribal office building in Sisseton, SD, to establish a new tribal government at the Old Agency Dakota community in Agency Village, SD.  Since then, the tribe has grown immensely in population and in services provided to tribal members, who presently have to travel long distances in order to get needed services from tribal programs at various locations throughout northeastern South Dakota.  Today, the vision of providing needed services to its members in one central location is soon to become a reality, thus fulfilling the dream of decades ago with the move to Agency Village. Read more »

Construction Progress: The Town of Newburg, West Virginia

The Town of Newburg, West Virginia was awarded a total of $2,875,000 for the Fellowsville, York Run, and State Route 26 Water Extension Project. USDA Rural Development provided a $400,000 loan, $941,000 grant, and a $185,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant to the project.  The Town serves approximately 250 households and small businesses with public water service, and this project will add roughly 150 new customers in Fellowsville, York Run, and State Route 26 of Preston County, West Virginia.  The loans and grants were officially closed on July 19, 2010.  Construction started on the project at the beginning of August 2010. Read more »

USDA Grant to Enhance Sustainability of Beginning farmers and Ranchers

One of our biggest opportunities to increase employment and income in rural America is to enhance the sustainability of beginning farmers.  Many farmers are retiring, and coupled with a renewed interest in local foods is causing an increased demand on small and medium-sized farmers. Nearly 25 percent of U.S. farmers are 65 years and older.  The average age of the farm operator is 57 years.  I have noticed a shift is occurring with an increase in the number of new farm operations with many Americans interested in becoming beginning farmers and ranchers.  However, these farmers face unique challenges, including rising cost of farm land, lack of knowledge about accessing farm land and the capital to buy the land, lack of training in sustainable farming practices, a lack of operating capital in their initial years, and many need experiential learning to be successful. Read more »

USDA Housing Funds to Benefit Residents of an Arizona Town

Somerton, Arizona, is a great example of how USDA Rural Development programs can help bolster a small rural community by touching so many aspects of not only the rural economy but the diverse and vibrant rural people who make it work. Read more »

An Opportunity for Producers to Learn About the Information Resources Available to Make Decisions on Implementing Renewable Energy Technologies

As USDA continues to roll out energy programs contained in the 2008 Farm Bill, more producers are expressing their interests in better understanding of renewable energy, reaching out to us to find out how to make informed decisions and decide if there are opportunities for them. Opportunities that include producing biomass for renewable energy, producing renewable energy, reducing energy costs, and developing a new and sustainable farm income source. Read more »

USDA Healthier US School Challenge Winners during National School Lunch Week

Students from Brenham and Krause elementary schools in Texas put on an exercise musical.

Students from Brenham and Krause elementary schools in Texas put on an exercise musical.

What better way to celebrate National School Lunch Week than visiting winners of our USDA HealthierUS School Challenge! It was an honor to visit North Dakota and Texas schools that are going the extra mile to help children adopt healthier lifestyles. Our winners, the Phoenix, Brenham, and Krause elementary schools, respectively achieved Gold of Distinction and Gold status by providing students safe, nutritious, and healthy meals, in addition to plenty of on-site physical activity. Read more »