Last fall, South Dakota USDA Rural Development highlighted a valuable partner; GROW South Dakota, formerly known as the Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation, for its 18 year partnership in community lending. While giving back to the communities they serve, GROW South Dakota has also contributed to the region as a whole through its fiscal administrative support of regional planning and development through a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and a Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG).
Said South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks, “The total impact that GROW has had is not just measured in loans made or jobs created; they have assisted in the stabilization and creation of thriving, vibrant communities in rural South Dakota.” USDA funds have been used to develop and provide web-based technical assistance for the region’s partnering organizations and for a regional website that provides a central link to local organizations and expertise for the current technology and available social media. Read more »
After two decades in the making, 71 households in rural Jefferson County, Illinois have begun to see the benefit of hard work and perseverance. And the end result is as simple as turning on the faucet! Moores Prairie Township Water Company celebrated last month as a project they’ve dreamed of for 23 years finally comes to fruition. Prior to the completion of this initiative, Moores Prairie Township residents and farms utilized a combination of shallow wells, deep wells, cisterns and purchased water to provide their water supply.
Residents realized that their dependency upon private water cisterns represented a serious threat to their health and safety, and began looking at options at the same time of the advent of the internet…1990! Although they continued to face struggles in obtaining a water connection and funding source, they never gave up. In June 2010, the Moores Prairie Township Water Company was formed and discussions with USDA Rural Development ensued, resulting in a $318,000 low interest loan for 40 years and additional grant funds to help fund the project. Construction began last year, and the system was placed into operation in April. Read more »
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe was exceeding the landfill capacity of handling 20 tons a day of garbage at the central landfill in the Northeast corner of the Rosebud Reservation. Garbage is hauled from twenty communities on the Reservation that range from 15 miles to 80 miles one way. Approximately 30 tons of solid waste is generated daily on the Rosebud Reservation.
Recently the Rosebud Sioux Tribe received USDA Water and Environmental loan and grant funds to construct a new transfer station. The project has made the operation cost effective and improved trash collection for residents on the Reservation.
A central transfer station located closer to where most of the garbage is generated allows the Tribe to minimize trips to the landfill, alleviate wear on equipment, minimize dumpster overflow and illegal dumping, and allow the Tribe to participate in recycling efforts resulting in saving space and extending the life of the landfill. In addition, the modernization of the transfer station has provided the members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe efficiencies in managing how the solid waste is handled and disposed of. What used to take almost 5 days for pick-up now takes 3.5 days, which is a huge labor savings, plus, fuel costs have dropped. Read more »
Earth Day was earlier this week and one village in Wisconsin has helped secure the future for themselves and their children through environmental upgrades. Nestled in a valley in western Wisconsin, the Village of Spring Valley has faced its share of challenges throughout its history. Prior to completion of an earthen dam in 1968, flooding was a chronic problem.
Two projects largely funded by USDA Rural Development have improved the quality of life and the environment in Spring Valley. The first, completed in June 2011, is the new wastewater treatment plant. Because the Rotating Biological Contactor system’s capacity had been significantly reduced in years prior, the need to upgrade the plant was inevitable. The Village received $3.5 million in funding through USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental program.
“The wastewater treatment plant is more compliant with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. We release back into the Eau Galle River after treatment, so it’s imperative that we meet the standards,” said Marsha Brunkhorst, Spring Valley Village President. Read more »
Secretary Vilsack renewed an historic agreement to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects & energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms
Cross posted from The Huffington Post:
U.S. dairy producers are leading the way in productivity and innovation when it comes to sustainable practices. Earlier this afternoon, I joined Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy CEO Tom Gallagher to renew an historic agreement with the dairy industry to lower greenhouse gas emissions and to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects on U.S. dairy farms which help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses on their operations. Today’s extension of the Memorandum of Understanding is an acknowledgement of the dairy industry’s legacy of stewardship and its ongoing commitment to improve our farms. Read more »
Engineer checking a flowmeterand V-notch weir on a dairy farm in California.
Earth Day is one of our favorite days at USDA Rural Development because we get to showcase the important work that we do to improve water quality for millions of rural Americans. As a part of our Earth Day Celebration this year, USDA Rural Development is announcing 43 projects that will bring new and improved water and waste disposal service to rural communities in 32 states.
For example, one of the projects we’re announcing is in Texas. Buffalo Gap, a rural community outside of Abilene will construct a first-ever wastewater collection system. The community currently is all-septic. The funds will allow construction of sewer lines, manholes, lift station and cleanouts. The system will collect sewage and pump it to Abilene’s wastewater treatment plant. This is just one example of a small community doing big things to help its residents this Earth Day. Read more »