Welcome from USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks
"Welcome to the USDA Rural Development Web Site for South Dakota.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to improve the quality of life
for rural Americans. To accomplish this, we provide Federal
assistance in rural areas of our great state. It is our goal to
ensure that rural citizens participate fully in the global economy.
Working closely with profit and non-profit sectors, along with
state, tribal and local governments, we are fundamentally changing
the way in which the Federal government does business. With this new
philosophy of public-private partnerships, many positive outcomes
for rural Americans are occurring daily. South Dakota's small towns
and rural areas face both challenges and new opportunities. I
am committed to working with rural communities and entrepreneurs in
South Dakota to meet those challenges and seize opportunities.
Rural Development is committed to the future of rural communities
and whatever your community needs are, from infrastructure to
houses, to businesses, I want to assure you that my staff and I
stand ready to help you. Please contact me at (605) 352-1100, or one of our 7 local offices." -- Elsie M. Meeks
Biography for Elsie M. Meeks
was named State Director of the USDA Rural Development in South
Dakota by the Obama Administration on July 27, 2009. In this
capacity, she coordinates the efforts of 72 employees to work with
others to ensure use of resources and 40 + programs are serving
rural South Dakota residents. Through her leadership, communities
and rural residents will have the opportunity to develop and grow
while also improving their quality of life.
Meeks has several
years of experience working to promote economic and community
development. In addition, she sits on the board of Northwest Area
Foundation. Prior to joining USDA, Meeks was the President/CEO of
First Nations Oweesta Corporation and has over 20 years experience
working for Native community economic development.
leadership and work at Oweesta, Meeks was active for 20 years in the
development and management of The Lakota Funds, a small business and
microenterprise development loan fund CDFI on the Pine Ridge
Reservation in South Dakota. She served as chairperson of The
Lakota Funds and was a board member of Corporation for Enterprise
Development, Council on Foundations and the Oglala Sioux Tribe
Partnership for Housing. She was also an International Advisory
Council member of Native Nations Institute and on the Board of
Governors for the Honoring Nations program of the Harvard Project on
American Indian Economic Development.
Meeks completed a six-year term on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and
was the first Native American to serve on the Commission. She was
the chairperson for the Native Financial Education Coalition, for
which Oweesta served as the lead organization.
Meeks and her
husband Jim make their home on their ranch near Kyle, SD on the Pine
Rural Development is committed to helping
improve the economy and quality of life in all of rural America by
providing financial programs to support essential public facilities
and services as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics,
emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service.
Rural Development invested more than $353 million in Fiscal Year
2010 and $2.78 billion over the past 10 years in South Dakota
Download a copy of Elsie Meeks' biography