(-excerpt USDA blog-)

Western North Dakota USDA Great Regions–Job Creation Success Hailed by Local Residents

Earlier this month, acting USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Doug O’Brien heard one testimonial after another from a variety of people who thanked the federal government for providing funding and services to a portion of western North Dakota that was hard hit by outmigration two decades ago.

The area has been designated one of seven “Great Regions” in the nation by USDA Rural Development.  However, sixteen years prior it was named a Rural Economic Area Partnership or a “REAP” pilot project by then-Senator Byron Dorgan.  On February 16, a celebration was held in Dickinson that attracted the non-profit’s board members, community leaders, business owners, and USDA personnel who provided technical assistance over the years.

Mary Massad, CEO of the water pipeline that serves twelve counties held up a jar full of brown water to illustrate what the drinking supply was like in prior years.  In sharp contrast, she toasted the USDA with a healthy glass of water taken from the pipeline that continues to receive federal money for expansion to cities, ranches and businesses.   Kathleen Obritsch gave the history of the Roughrider long distance education system that now serves 500 sites providing twenty courses through a virtual high school to students in remote locations in the state.

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