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rural communities

A Rural School Adjusts to Serve Its Students During COVID-19

USDA Rural Development provides opportunities to enhance education in rural communities. We can see these investments throughout the state and I’m proud of the contributions that team South Dakota is making to support education initiatives and so much more.

Connecting South Dakota’s Rural Communities to Opportunities in Business, Education, Health Care and Beyond

In early December, I had the privilege of announcing a USDA Rural Development ReConnect Pilot Program investment of more than $9.5 million to Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association, Inc. dba Valley FiberCom in Flandreau, South Dakota. This investment will help Valley deploy high-speed broadband internet e-Connectivity to more than 1,750 rural households, 27 farms, 17 businesses and one critical community facility.

Why Reconnecting Our Rural Communities Matters

You may be reading this blog entry from your desk workstation, or perhaps a laptop in a coffee shop. You might even be perusing this on your smartphone. It’s a common, everyday occurrence that can easily be taken for granted. Unfortunately, in many parts of rural South Carolina – it’s not only a luxury to have broadband internet access, it’s not even possible!

Rural Aging Occurs in Different Places for Very Different Reasons

As the United States population ages, many Americans age 65 or older are making their homes in rural communities. In fact, 19 percent of the U.S. rural (nonmetro) population is 65 years or older, compared with 15 percent in urban (metro) areas. Rural counties make up nearly 85 percent of the 1,104 “older-age counties”—those with more than 20 percent of their population age 65 or older.

Reflecting on One Year of Innovation at Rural Development

Last year, Secretary Perdue created the Rural Development Innovation Center, a team devoted to partnership development, regulatory reform, data analysis, and risk management. With a mission of coordinating resources and providing creative solutions for our rural customer, the Innovation Center is designed to hard wire innovation into our program delivery. In recognition of the Innovation Center’s first anniversary, I’d like to share a few reflections on a year of transformation in Rural Development through innovation.