The Community Development team hosted two Regional Roundtables in July, one in Pierre and one in Gregory. Check out what Jim Protexter, COO of PEDCO (Pierre Economic Development Corporation), had to say:
If you subscribe to a regional approach to economic development, what's good for Onida or Eagle Butte or Kadoka is good for Pierre.
It's true, and that's why I was happy to help the state pull together my counterparts from this region for a rare but hopefully ongoing regional roundtable discussion a few weeks ago. "Our" area was well represented, including Campbell County, Gettysburg, Onida, Fort Pierre, Eagle Butte, Faulkton, Kadoka, Miller and Kimball.
The event was coordinated by Scott Amundson, a Community Development Representative with the Governor's Office of Economic Development. Scott worked to get the good turnout, and sweetened the pot by offering educational sessions from the local Small Business Development Center, Department of Labor and Central South Dakota Enhancement District staff as well as GOED and the Small Business Administration out of Sioux Falls.
And as Scott predicted - because he's been to these before - the highlight was the three minutes each community got at the end to talk about what they're doing, what's working and what's not. It was great to meet some of these community representatives for the first time, and to learn what challenges we have in common.
Of course we all want to focus on the positives, so we heard about the new hospital plans in Gettysburg, the new high school and middle school in Faulkton, the wind project in Campbell County and the new office incubator space in Eagle Butte. Onida is proud of their new ethanol plant, Fort Pierre has their Casey's, Kadoka and Miller have made several small business loans and Kimball is getting their zoning issues organized.
The challenge as reported by every community is housing and workforce. It was valuable to hear how each community is addressing these common concerns.
My positive to share centered on the pulse processing plant near Harrold. When we developed that facility it was with a regional approach in mind. What's good for Harrold is good for Pierre, and for Blunt and Miller and Onida as well.
Since PURIS Foods took over the plant in January, they have been conditioning seed and bought a lot of the stored peas from area producers to supply the pet food market. They have several thousand acres of peas under contract that will go into their protein products for human consumption, and are contemplating an additional building and adding workers in the near future. In fact, we are anticipating an exciting announcement from PURIS about growing their market in the coming weeks.
The regional roundtable was a success thanks to Scott and presenters Marcella Hurley, Lisa Claassen, LaJena Gruis, Jessica Falk, Mark Anderson and Paul Mehlhaff. We hope to make it an annual affair.