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2021 Energize! Conference attendees gathered outside a brick building.


The Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference is designed to empower South Dakota’s rural communities by inviting them to network with community leaders from across the state to share success stories, get new ideas and take action to improve their own communities.

Birds-eye view of Hot Springs, South Dakota
May 22

ENERGIZE! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference

SDSU Extension will host its sixth annual Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities conference May 22-23, 2024 in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Birds-eye view of a small rural town

Home Starts Here

SDSU Extension’s Home Starts Here podcast seeks out the individuals, businesses, and ideas that are sparking vibrant communities in South Dakota.

Interior of a licensed commercial kitchen.

South Dakota Licensed Kitchen Process

Interested in selling food products in a retail establishments? Licensed kitchens are the place to start. Learn the steps for building a licensed kitchen in South Dakota along with rules, regulations and guidelines for processing foods in existing licensed kitchens.

people shopping at a farmer's market

Requirements for Food Entrepreneurs Selling Food in South Dakota

Throughout the country and in the state of South Dakota, people are showing more interest in selling their own food products and starting their own business

A girl holds a sheep in a barn and a blond woman stands behind her smiling

SDSU Extension cohort programs offer immersive experiences for emerging producers, entrepreneurs and community leaders

August 31, 2023

In addition to providing training on specific topics and skills, SDSU Extension’s cohort programs help people overcome challenges to build their support network and develop a deep knowledge base.

The newest SDSU Extension cohort program, Emerging Sheep Producers, started in September 2022.

Successful Energize! conference draws community leaders to Wessington Springs

July 25, 2023

From May 31 to June 1, Wessington Springs hosted nearly 120 community leaders from across the state for the 2023 Energize! Conference, organized by South Dakota State University Extension’s Community Vitality team.

2022 Energize Conference attendees.

Young entrepreneurs share their stories at the 2023 Energize! conference in Wessington Springs

May 16, 2023

A panel of young entrepreneurs including Aidan Friesen, Hope Karels, Swade Ries and Oliver Moeckly will speak at this year’s Energize! conference in Wessington Springs. SDSU Extension and the community of Wessington Springs will host the 2023 Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference May 31-June 1.

Bedroom loft in a local lodge.

Energize! Lodging in Wessington Springs

In addition to the multitude of things that make the 2023 Energize! host community of Wessington Springs distinct, there is an abundance of unique lodging opportunities. Learn some of the countless benefits of staying local during your travels!

Young entrepreneur meeting with community members.

Connections: An Overlooked Factor in Startup Success

If you are considering starting a business, your community network will be one of your most-important tools. Learn some expert tips for connecting your business with your community today.