Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, is accepting applications for the following programs: Rural Economic Development Loans, Rural Business Opportunity Grants, Rural Cooperative Development Grants, and Small Minority Producer Grants.

"Sustainable rural development is vital to South Dakota's future," said Thune. "I urge South Dakota producers and communities to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by these programs to help keep our agriculture economy running strong."

Rural Economic Development Loans are zero-interest loans made to Rural Development utility program borrowers, which in turn re-lend the money at zero interest to local entities to promote economic development and job growth. March 31, 2008 is the deadline for third quarter loan applications and June 30, 2008 is the deadline for fourth quarter loan applications.

Rural Business Opportunity Grants finance training and technical assistance for business development, and applications must be received by March 31, 2008.

Rural Cooperative Development Grants help rural residents form new cooperatives and improve existing ones, and Minority Producer Grants are geared towards helping cooperatives with high minority representation either in membership or on their governing boards. Applications for both programs are due April 8, 2008.

Further information is available at