News Release
Release No.STELPRD4020314
ContactTammi Schone605-352-1102
Rapid City, SD, Apr 12, 2013 --

@@USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks held a series of meetings this week with Tribal leaders and economic development officials across South Dakota to discuss ways USDA can help them strengthen local economies and create jobs.

“We are working to build new partnerships to create jobs and improve the economic vitality of rural communities in South Dakota,” Meeks said. “These meetings are crucial. At USDA, several initiatives have been created to help implement our economic development strategies.”

Meeks spoke at the South Dakota’s Annual Indian Business Conference (SDIBC). The conference brings Tribal and non-Tribal government officials, policy-makers, lenders, educators and non-profit organizations together to share successful models and strategies that foster the development of private Indian business throughout South Dakota. Meeks spoke to this year’s conference theme, “Building Opportunities in the New Native America”.

Meeks also talked about the USDA StrikeForce initiative to increase partnerships with rural communities and leverage resources in targeted, persistent poverty areas. South Dakota was recently added to the initiative’s list of targeted states. Participants had an opportunity to speak with Meeks about new opportunities the initiative could bring to South Dakota.

Meeks also highlighted Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s recent award of loans to a South Dakota cooperative and a cooperative located in North Dakota that will serve South Dakota residents. The cooperatives will use USDA funding to expand and upgrade the electric infrastructure.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.