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USDA Invests in Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative to Make Rural Electric Infrastructure Improvements

Tammi Schone
Release Date

  United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for South Dakota Julie Gross announced that Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative has been selected to receive funding of $7,364,000 for rural electric infrastructure improvements.

   “USDA is pleased to assist rural communities with building and expanding electric infrastructure,” said Gross. ““Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative provides service to 3,422 consumers over 1,482 miles of line in Roberts, Codington and Grant counties in northeastern South Dakota.”      

    Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative is headquarted in Milbank, SD.  The federal funding will be used to build and improve 116 miles of line serving 146 new consumers and invest $305,100 in smart grid technologies to improve system efficiencies and resilience.

   Gross’ announcement is in coordination with the recent announcement made by Rural Utilities Service Administrator Chad Rupe today announcing that USDA is investing $181 million to upgrade rural electric systems in 10 states

   USDA is providing financing for 12 projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin through the Electric Loan Program. The funding will help build and improve 1,354 miles of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas.

   USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks. Congress appropriated $5.5 billion for USDA’s Electric Loan Program in fiscal year 2019.

   In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

  To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

  USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.