The first South Dakota ‘MarketPlace: Opening Doors to Success’ business conference, held in Huron, South Dakota, late last month drew over 200 participants from across the state for two days of networking and business training. The event focused on energizing small businesses and rural communities.
The conference featured strong, hands-on learning opportunities for potential and existing business owners including on and off farm/ranch, store front or home based, women and Native American owned businesses; community leaders; and youth interested in entrepreneurship. A large group of exhibitors served as resources for participants, enabling them to learn about business solutions products, website design, financing and other business services. Read more »
USDA South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks took a tour of the flood control preparations underway in Pierre and Ft. Pierre, last Thursday. A number of homes are threatened, including those financed by government agencies, including USDA.
Residents are preparing for the worst as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers increase water flow from the Oahe Dam from 85,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) to 150,000 CFS. Flooding is imminent in the communities because of rising water levels on the Missouri River. Read more »
South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks addressed a crowd of nearly 500 attendees at the 37th Annual National American Indian Council Convention & Trade Show in Phoenix, Arizona last week. This year’s theme was “Connect to the Past, Commit to the Future.”
Meeks, an Oglala Sioux Tribal Member, highlighted Rural Development’s programs and provided stats on the opportunities provided to American Indian/Alaska Native families on a national scale since the year 2000. She noted that the Single Family Housing Direct Program has helped over 2,600 Native families become homeowners during that time and that the USDA Guaranteed program has helped an additional 3,700 families achieve their homeownership dreams. In addition the USDA Home Repair program has funded home repairs for over 3,000 Native families. Read more »
Nebraska Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul was joined by South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks and Iowa Area Director Theresa Jordison on March 30th to recognize Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska with a plaque for their production of advanced biodiesel fuels. The business produces advanced biodiesel from soybean oil created in two facilities, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa and St. Joseph, Missouri.
In January 2011, AGP received payment of almost half a million dollars under the USDA Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, based on eligible production of advanced biodiesel from soybean oil produced at the two plants. Read more »
Through passion, hard work, and support from USDA Rural Development, Legend Air Suspensions has become a national and international success. Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie M. Meeks and Area Director Tim Potts visited the owner Jesse Jurrens recently to celebrate the accomplishments of his business, Independent Cycle Inc., dba Legend Air Suspensions.
USDA assisted the business through a Business and Industry Guaranteed loan in conjunction with First National Bank, Sturgis, South Dakota. Mr. Jurrens credits his refinance with the help of Rural Development, increased efficiencies, dedicated employees and internal cost saving measures that made the business not only stabilize but grow their net income this last year. Read more »
In a past visit to the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP), in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, USDA Rural Development State Director, Elsie, M. Meeks, viewed the boxes and boxes of toys to be delivered on Christmas Eve. Each year CRYP collects “Dear Santa” letters from over a 1,000 children on the Cheyenne River reservation, solicits funds and in-kind donations from organizations and individuals around the world, matches the Santa lists with just the right gifts and delivers the beautifully wrapped packages to eager children — and their grateful families. Read more »