Become a Part of Stronger Economies Together Regional Training Process

Christine Sorensen
South Dakota
Release Date
Apr 22, 2015

South Dakota USDA Rural Development and South Dakota State University Extension would like to extend an opportunity for your community to be a part of a Stronger Economies Together regional training process.

Stronger Economies Together (SET) enables communities and counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multi-county region that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region. 

Creating, attracting and retaining jobs as a single rural county in isolation from other nearby counties is becoming increasingly ineffective. In today’s global marketplace, economic development progress is more likely to be realized when counties work together as a region to assess their resources and then design and implement plans that build on their assets and comparative economic strengths.  Once the plan is developed and if it is approved as a “High Quality” plan by the USDA, the region qualifies for a small grant to help with the implementation of the plan.  However, the longer term benefit is that your region works collectively to create a better economic future.

Launched in 2010 by USDA Rural Development and the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers and their land-grant university partners, this exciting initiative is now in place in more than 50 regions in 28 states.  An overview of SET as well as a report of impact indicators can be viewed on the USDA Rural Development Community Development page.

Currently, we have three SET regions in South Dakota.  Two of the regions are in the eastern part of the state, James River Valley Region (Hand, Spink, Clark, Kingsbury, Beadle, and Jerauld Counties) and Brookings Commute Area Region (Hamlin, Deuel, Brookings, and Moody Counties); and the Badlands/Bad River Region (Haakon, Jackson, and Eastern Pennington Counties) represents western South Dakota.   Recently the long range economic development plan developed by the Badlands/Bad River Region passed a High Quality Plan (HQP) review by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is only the 4th plan to receive the HQP designation nationally.  View the news release for more information.

South Dakota has again been selected to participate in SET.   Regions are now being sought who would like to be considered to participate in the regional coaching program.  For more information to see if this opportunity is of interest, please contact Christine Sorensen, USDA Rural Development Midwest Regional Community Economic Development Coordinator at (202) 568-9832 or Peggy Schlechter, Community Development Field Specialist for SDSU Extension at (605) 394-1722.