News Release
Release No.STELPRD4021930
Huron, SD, Aug 29, 2013 --

@@USDA Rural Development staff participated in a ceremony today, held in collaboration with Value Added Day at the South Dakota State Fair, for the Value Added Agriculture Development Center (VAADC) where South Dakota USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks presented a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) in the amount of $99,950 for the VAADC to assist small and emerging private businesses in Shannon County.

"The grant funds will be used to facilitate new economic opportunities in the StrikeForce region and in a persistent poverty county. The Value Added Agriculture Development Center provides the service to capitalize on those ideas.” said Meeks. The primary goal of the StrikeForce initiative is to increase partnership with rural communities and leverage community resources in targeted, persistent poverty communities.

The mission of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center (Ag Center) is to foster creation of producer-owned, valued-added agriculture by offering technical and staff support and championing value-added agriculture by educating producers, lenders and the public on value-added concepts. The Ag Center provides services to potential and established rural cooperatives in South Dakota and the surrounding area.

“As South Dakota’s agribusiness development hub for nearly 15 years, we provide a menu of technical assistance services, such as business planning, siting and funding, to help rural based ventures strengthen our economy by value adding our crops and livestock,” said Randy Englund, VAADC President.

According to VAADC Executive Director Cheri Rath,”The VAADC is unique in that we provide ‘hands on’ agribusiness development services to guide our clients through startup and expansion processes.” She added, “We’re looking forward to utilizing the REBG funds to create a small agribusiness that will offer resources to increase buffalo production in one of our most remote rural areas.”

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 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. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the Department implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.

USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.