The South Dakota Bon Homme School District #04-2 Mission Statement – “To ensure that our students have the resources to succeed in a changing world.” Hard work is continually being done with the focus placed on learning and commitment of excellence to serve the students who are our future leaders, their parents and the communities. The District is made up of communities and rural areas of Springfield, Tabor, Tyndall, and the Bon Homme Hutterite Colony.
South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks participated in a dedication ceremony for the Fitness Center project at Bon Homme School District #04-2. The Fitness Center will be made available to all students and staff with weight, exercise, and cardio vascular equipment. USDA Rural Development is providing a Community Facilities grant of $33,000 to be leveraged with an applicant contribution through the Hoch Foundation of $247,000 for the project. Read more »
Dr. Randy Hancock, Director and CEO of the Black Canyon Community Health Center, Inc. (BCCHC) has spent the last ten years working in a cramped building in the small desert town of Black Canyon City, Arizona. His office has three desks crammed in—his, one for the other doctor and one for their Nurse Practitioner.
BCCHC is the only clinic around for miles and it works overtime to meet the basic health needs of the working class rural residents that make up the community. With an average household income nearly $20,000 below the rest of the state, most of the clinic’s clients are retired and on fixed income. “Some of our patients have to walk to the clinic,” said Dr. Hancock. “It’s really difficult if they need specialty tests or radiology and have to try to get to Phoenix.” Read more »
Rural communities are the backbone of our nation’s economy. This past year, food and agriculture exports from rural America reached their highest levels ever and the industry supported more than 1.15 million American jobs. America’s agricultural trade surplus also reached record levels. This is partly the result of a comprehensive rural strategy implemented to spur innovation, increase export levels, invest in clean energy, and expand opportunities for rural enterprises on and off the farm that create jobs. In the last few years, USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program and our Business and Industry Guarantee program has created jobs and has helped millions of rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety. And now we want to hear YOUR voice.
On the heels of the 1 year anniversary of the White House Rural Council, and to celebrate National Homeownership Month, I will host the 3rd installment of Virtual Office Hours. The topic will be economic development in our nation’s rural communities, including the great strides that have been made in agricultural economy and the important role housing plays in creating jobs, maintaining viable rural communities, and contributing to the economy. Read more »
For most Americans, advanced health care facilities that can treat almost any kind of ailment are just a short drive away. But picture you or a loved one in your rural community enduring a life-threatening illness or injury, and having to travel hundreds of miles for medical attention. Compounding the issue are the often treacherous travel conditions during the winter months when remote roads are hazardous, and sometimes closed due to weather.
It’s no wonder that the community of Tazlina, Alaska, in the Copper River Valley, welcomed the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Copper River Native Association’s new health care and administrative facility on a 10 acre site. The project is a joint venture between USDA Rural Development through a Community Facilities direct loan; U.S. Housing and Urban Development and the State of Alaska. This new facility will replace the existing 40-year old scattered site facilities that were originally slated to be decommissioned or demolished in 1985. The land has been provided by Ahtna, Incorporated, A Native regional corporation, on a 99 year lease. Read more »
USDA Rural Development has a long history of collaboration with the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. I’ve seen the power of these collaborations first-hand, both in my current role as Under Secretary for Rural Development, as well back in the 1990s when I had the opportunity to serve as Rural Development’s State Director in South Dakota.
I recently returned to the tribe’s Pine Ridge Reservation, accompanied by twelve Midwestern USDA Rural Development state directors. We traveled across the reservation, seeing both cultural landmarks and projects that have been impacted by USDA. Read more »
Earlier today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a report highlighting the ways in which Community Facilities infrastructure investments in rural communities help create jobs and boost economic development, and Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager announced additional investments that will create jobs and promote economic growth across the nation.
The Community Facilities program supports job growth across the nation. For example, recently, Under Secretary Tonsager had the opportunity to visit Greene County Medical Center (GCMC) in Jefferson, Iowa. The 75-year-old hospital is planning a large expansion and renovation project that will create a state-of-the-art medical campus and USDA Rural Development will be involved in a big way. Read more »