Building North Dakota

State Director Jasper Schneider


Every generation hopes to build upon the efforts of the last. In my work with communities across North Dakota, it is clear that one of the best investments we can make to pay that debt of gratitude forward is an investment in people and infrastructure. In my four years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and my time before that as a legislator, those principles have guided me.


During my tenure at USDA, we have invested more than $2 billion in infrastructure to build a better North Dakota. Those targeted investments include advancements in 21st-century technology such as broadband Internet, which is changing the game for a rural state like North Dakota. We have worked to update the aging health care infrastructure, provide quality housing and partner with our utilities to ensure that all parts of the state have affordable, stable electricity and quality, safe drinking water. Our office also has been working with communities to try to solve the challenge of quality child care and advance early education for those precious and critical early years.


Building a state takes a team effort. Despite our overall prosperity, we still have counties in North Dakota that have official unemployment rates as high as 15 percent and unofficial reports quoting much higher. We can do better. USDA has launched a StrikeForce Initiative to work across our agencies to target areas of persistently high poverty. We do this in conjunction with local partners, understanding that people working together solve problems.


                                       - Jasper Schneider

Great Plains Young Professionals Summit   

Young professionals from across the region gathered at the Bismarck State College campus for the YP Summit. The planned activities strived to help young professionals enhance their professional skill set, instill community engagement and diversify their networks. This year' theme was 'Transform Tomorrow.'

State Director Jasper Schneider had an opportunity to address the group. A  promotional video about his speech was posted to YouTube before the event. Watch now.

Mayville State University Is Getting An Alumni Center 

Renovation of the Historic Northwest Hall

John Klocke, MSU director of development, explains what Northwest Hall will look like after renovation.

State Director Jasper Schnieder received a tour of a renovation project taking place on Mayville State's campus. Built in 1911, The Northwest Hall has served many purposes, which will soon include alumni center. The historic hall will be restored to serve as a "home" for alumni and current students. There will be space for meetings, events and learning opportunities. Individual rooms will also highlight local art and historical information. 


The Mayville State University Foundation raised $560,000 through a ten year campaign, but needed additional funds to finish the renovation. Through the community facilities program, USDA Rural Development provided a $375,000 loan guarantee through Goose River Bank of Mayville. 


Ranchers Welcome Meat Processing Plant

State Director Schneider speaks at groundbreaking. (Photo By: Kent Brick)


Efforts led by electric co-ops, economic development agencies, USDA and farm groups have revived a meat processing plant. The new Bowdon Locker and Grocery, about 100 miles from Bismarck, will re-open in mid-September as a co-op with more than 70 members. Through the Rural Economic Development program, USDA partnered with Northern Plains Cooperative to provide a $75,000 loan for the project. Read article here.

USDA Meets Community Leaders in Southeast North Dakota

LaMoure and Oakes
Al Ulmer (NDSU extension) explains the Emergency Response Center project to Jasper Schneider (USDA), Michelle Berry (Dakota Valley Electric) and LaMoure Mayor Craig Good.

Recently, State Director Jasper Schneider met community members of LaMoure and Oakes. Discussions focused on recent developments and on their community's greatest needs. As no surprise, the lack of affordable, quality housing was a common theme.    


Also, while in Lamoure, Schneider took a tour of the new Emergency Response Center. USDA Rural Development partnered with Dakota Valley Electric to provide $640,000 in financing for the project. The center has ample space for fire, ambulance and police services. The building includes office space, a meeting room, kitchen, sleeping area, and adequate room for training exercises.

Rural Utilities Administrator Visits, Hosts Meetings in North Dakota

Administrator Padalino at the Freedom Mine.


John Padalino, USDA Rural Utilities Administrator, spent a week in North Dakota learning about the state. He spoke at the Telecom Operators Conference in Fargo, and held meetings with several industry partners. During his trip he stressed the importance of Rural Development to the Farm Bill legislation. Read more here.


While in the state, Administrator Padalino also went on a tour of the state's energy facilities through Basin Electric Cooperative, which included visits to a wind farm, gasification plant and coal mine. Read about the tour.

Program Updates


Multi-Family Housingapplications are being accepted from lenders for loan guarantees to finance rural rental housing. The expansion of a partnership with one of the largest issuers of mortgage-backed securities (Ginnie Mae) in the nation to increase investments in rural rental housing.


Rural Cooperative Development Grants: grant applications are being accepted from qualified non-profit organizations and educational facilities to help rural cooperatives develop new markets for their products and services.


Business Grants: USDA is seeking applications from qualified organizations to provide technical assistance to rural businesses to help them expand and create jobs.


Broadband: New rules to better target Community Connect broadband grants to areas where they are needed the most.

Upcoming Events 
  Upcoming Events


June 7: Firefighter's Convention in West Fargo

June 14: REAP application deadline

June 18: McLean Electric annual meeting in Garrison

June 20: Velva C-Store grand opening



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