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USDA Invests Over $210 Million in Rural Electric Infrastructure in South Dakota

Tammi Schone
Release Date

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development South Dakota State Director Julie Gross today announced that East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., Cam-Wal Electric Cooperative, Inc., and Douglas Electric Cooperative, Inc. have been awarded combined federal funding of $210,293,000 to build and improve rural electric infrastructure in South Dakota.  USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program.

“A cornerstone to rural prosperity is modern and reliable electric infrastructure. The funding we are providing is important to South Dakota and reflects our commitment to invest in critical infrastructure needs in rural communities. When rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” said Gross.   

The projects funded include:

  • East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. is receiving $198,910,000 to make improvements to their headquarters’ facility, build new and updated substations, and build 135 miles and improve 469 miles of transmission line that will enhance system resilience and reliability. This loan includes funding for smart grid technologies, including 65 miles of fiber cable between substations to enhance communication capability. East River is a generation and transmission electric cooperative headquartered in Madison. East River provides power to 25 rural electric utilities that serve 41 counties in eastern South Dakota and 22 counties in western Minnesota.
  •  Cam-Wal Electric Cooperative, Inc. is receiving $9,707,000 to connect 150 consumers, and build and improve 335 miles of line.  The loan includes $181,800 in smart grid technologies. Cam-Wal is headquartered in Selby and serves 2,463 customers over 1,438 miles of line in six counties. 
  •  Douglas Electric Cooperative, Inc. is receiving $1,676,000 to connect 36 consumers, and build and improve 38 miles of line.  Douglas is headquartered in Armour. It serves 800 customers over 504 miles of line in Aurora, Charles Mix, Douglas, and Hutchinson counties in southeastern South Dakota.

Today’s announcement is part of a larger statement from Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky who announced that the department if investing $900 million to build, preserve or improve rural electric infrastructure across 16 states.  The projects announced are in Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia.

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.