USDA Celebrates Earth Day with Programs to Promote Clean Water, Renewable Energy in South Dakota

Tammi Schone
South Dakota
Release Date
Apr 22, 2015

For 45 years our nation has recognized the importance of environmental obligation, commemorating that responsibility through events and annual celebrations.  Celebrations are now set aside for April 22 of every year, known as Earth Day.

USDA’s programs encourage excellence in community planning for safe, resourceful water use and renewable energy efficiencies.  For example, USDA Rural Development in South Dakota invested $238 million during fiscal year 2014 through 32 infrastructure projects to provide reliable and clean drinking water, waste treatment systems, electric power, and telecommunications services in about 40 rural communities in South Dakota.

In addition to highlighting USDA’s commitment to clean water, Secretary Tom Vilsack also noted that this year’s Earth Day celebrations also highlight the role of renewable energy systems in maintaining environmental quality. Twenty-five organizations have been selected for energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants through USDA’s popular Rural Energy for America Program. In South Dakota, Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. has been selected to receive a $2,172 grant to provide marketing and education materials on solar technologies to rural small businesses and ag producers.  View the list of recipients. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant, or loan/grant agreement.

Earth Day is observed annually on April 22 to raise awareness about what individuals can do to protect vital natural resources and safeguard the environment. Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has greatly expanded. Today, citizens and governments in more than 195 countries participate in Earth Day events.

President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his 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.