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Posts tagged: Elsie M. Meeks

USDA Rural Development Participates in Value Added Day at South Dakota State Fair

The recently concluded South Dakota State Fair is ‘Still the One!’  The Value Added Agriculture Development Center (VAADC) hosted Value Added Ag Day at the 2012 South Dakota State Fair on August 30th.  USDA Rural Development was represented at the tent and State Director Elsie Meeks was on a panel discussion titled Growing Rural South Dakota. The discussion was focused on the respective businesses and their development and expansion of agribusiness ventures that have brought value to our agricultural producers and local-state economies.  Meeks spoke on the long term partnership and support our agency has provided to the Center, provided examples of business and cooperative programs offered through USDA Rural Development, as well as USDA celebrating its 150th anniversary.  Participants were able to view the timeline posters displayed inside the tent.

The Value Added Agriculture Development Center and its member contingency of rural-based commodity groups, trade organizations and cooperatives provide education and technical assistance to individuals, groups and communities. Read more »

Diversity within a South Dakota Rural Community

USDA Rural Development in South Dakota is interested in learning about and working with other cultures.  To enhance employee understanding, Mark Heuston, Director of Human Resources with Dakota Provisions, a turkey processing firm, was invited to USDA offices recently to make a presentation on the topic of diversity.

Dakota Provisions talent and expertise on working with diverse groups from several cultures is becoming well known throughout the South Dakota business world.  Most notable, is their success in recruiting Myanmar (Burmese) immigrants, “The Karen” to work in various positions throughout the processing plant located in Huron, SD.

The Karens are members of indigenous minority ethnic groups which reside primarily in southern and southeastern Myanmar. Some members have come to the United States recently.   Mr. Heuston educated staff on the Karen culture, the intricate process involved with them leaving Myanmar, and the transition to a life of personal enrichment in the United States – work, home, family, church, and community. Read more »

Shovels of Gold Symbolic of New Fire Protection for the Residents of a South Dakota Reservation

(Left to right) Susan Kary-Parmelee Volunteer Fire Department Secretary, Terri L. Grablander-South Central RC & D, John Spotted Tail-Community Liaison for Rosebud Sioux Tribe President, Elsie M. Meeks-South Dakota USDA Rural Development State Director, Marlene Knutson-Central South Dakota Enhancement District Executive Director, Rochelle Rogers-Senator Tim Johnson’s office, and Clark Guthmiller-USDA Rural Development Manager.

(Left to right) Susan Kary-Parmelee Volunteer Fire Department Secretary, Terri L. Grablander-South Central RC & D, John Spotted Tail-Community Liaison for Rosebud Sioux Tribe President, Elsie M. Meeks-South Dakota USDA Rural Development State Director, Marlene Knutson-Central South Dakota Enhancement District Executive Director, Rochelle Rogers-Senator Tim Johnson’s office, and Clark Guthmiller-USDA Rural Development Manager.

While the shovels may have all been painted gold, they weren’t just bought off the shelf; some were used, donated, came in different sizes, and had different uses.  It was a metaphor for the day as community members from the small community of Parmelee, South Dakota, located on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, gathered.  A project started over four years ago, involving  partnerships with ten different organizations/agencies to bring to fruition, broke ground recently on the long awaited, sought after fire hall. Read more »

South Dakota Communications Cooperative Recognized at White House “Champions of Change” Event

Headquartered in the community of Highmore in the heart of South Dakota, Venture Communications Cooperative is committed to providing friendly, first-rate service.  Commitment to their members and customers has distinguished them as one of several businesses from across the country that were invited to Washington, D.C., today to share their ideas directly with the Obama Administration on how to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.  It’s called “Champions of Change”.

Venture Communications Cooperative was selected because of the broadband infrastructure and service expansion improvements they’ve made.  Venture Communications can streamline business communications from local and long distance phone services to Internet access. Read more »

South Dakota Regionalism Road Trip

It could be that the holiday season is approaching or winter weather in South Dakota, but three different regional meetings were held this last week highlighting differently funded projects.  The common theme to these projects is that South Dakota organizations and agencies have heard the call towards regional work to support rural economic development.

If you were in Bismarck, ND, on December 12th you could have attended the Upper Missouri Tribal Environmental Risk Mitigation (UM TERM) project kick off meeting.  This project was recently awarded $1.7 million as part of Obama Administration’s “Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.”  This multi-agency collaboration supports the advancement of 20 high-growth, regional industry clusters in the upper Missouri River region of South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana.  Funding was provided by the agencies; US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, Economic Development Administration and Small Business Administration.  USDA Rural Development staff from both South Dakota and North Dakota was at the table to offer their assistance. Read more »

Oglala Sioux Tribe Celebrates Homeownership Month

John Yellow Bird Steele, President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) signed a proclamation declaring June 2011 National Homeownership Month.  The signing event took place in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, earlier this month with Partnership for Housing and USDA Rural Development on site for the ceremony.

“USDA Rural Development is actively engaged with assisting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in increasing homeownership opportunities in coordination with our public, private, and non-profit partners,” said Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks.  “Homeownership often leads to economic improvements, a better sense of pride in yourself and of the community.”

Read more »