Past Winners

Policy Bulletin 117 - Scholarship Program

Successful Scholarship Applicants & Their Essays

2024 Scholarship Winners

The Importance of Rural Water in Rural Communities
By: Abigail Kolousek

Mid-Dakota water is a crucial source of hydration on my family's farm. Living in rural South Dakota, my family wouldn't be able to water the livestock, wash our clothes, water the garden, take showers, or drink from the faucet if it weren't for Mid-Dakota water. Mid-Dakota gives my family access to rural water, which is both crucial and beneficial for the success of my family and our farm.

Rural water has various health benefits for livestock compared to urban water. Water quality may not be a cattle producer's biggest concern; however, it plays a critical role in raising healthy livestock. While urban water systems often face pollution by sediments and toxic metals, rural water carries nutrients that decrease illnesses and diseases in cattle and support digestion, growth, and lactation.

Further, not only does rural water benefit livestock, but it also benefits the public. Rural water provides rural communities with a safe and sufficient water supply. Rural water contains many beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, fluoride, potassium, iron, and zinc, which all support the everyday needs of the human body. Rural water ensures rural areas access to clean, safe, and affordable water.

Overall, rural water has numerous benefits for families, livestock, and small communities. Mid-Dakota provides rural South Dakota with amazing water quality that improves overall health. Without Mid-Dakota water, my family and many others in our community wouldn't be able to run successful cattle operations or practice basic hygiene and health Mid-Dakota water gives citizens in rural South Dakota the chance to thrive, using quality water they can trust.


By: Jarron Beck
A rural water system can be critically important to in those in more remote and rural areas. The most important factor is access to clean, safe and sanitary drinking water. Many times water sources could be contaminated and having a rural water system can reduce the risk of waterborne diseases and bacteria. Right along those same lines, having access to good clean water is important for daily activities of life and help to promote good hygiene choices. Those could include cooking, drinking, doing laundry, and bathing. Knowing that we don’t have to worry about having clean water really does ease some of life’s worries.

My mom grew up in Pierre, and she would always talk about how the water would stain the bathtub or the side of the house when they would run their sprinklers. We live in an area that has Mid Dakota Rural water and not once have we ever had to worry about stains on the siding of our house or our laundry getting ruined by rust and discolored water. We don’t have to have bottled water in our fridge to drink, as our water is fantastic. These are the things that many folks take for granted, and I for one am grateful to have the rural water service that we do.

Another benefit of a rural water system is that we have a readily available source of water. This is critically important in the event of a natural disaster or an emergency. Having this reliable water source helps with firefighting and emergency response efforts. It also can help to attract other families to build their homes in neighborhoods that have a rural water system. I know of several people in our community that have looked to build out in our neighborhood simply because of the water source. Not having to worry about all the factors mentioned above when you are running a household alleviates many worries. All in all, I would say that you may pay a bit more for water from a rural water system, like Mid Dakota, but it is well worth the benefits received. Thank you for considering me for the Mid Dakota Rural Water System Scholarship.


What Mid-Dakota Does for Me
By: Shaylee Anderberg

Being a recipient of Mid-Dakota rural water, I know that I am being well taken care of as both a customer and consumer of their rural water. I try to prioritize my health and my body as I have an immune disorder known as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). One of the main ways that I can combat my disease is through prioritizing my health and taking care of my body. That being said, water is vital to my health. Having a large consumption of water throughout the day helps me stay alert, prevents my lesions from flaring up, maintains my body temperature so that I do not overheat, and also allows my nervous system to stay in better communication so I can feel better throughout my day. With Mid-Dakota rural water, I am confident my water is not exposed to contaminants so that I am able to keep my body healthy.

It is also comforting knowing that the employees of Mid-Dakota are from my home community as well as surrounding communities. Being raised in this community, I know that we take care of our own. It does not make a difference whether community members show up for school activities to support, give to fundraising events, or provide the community with healthy water — we take care of our own. Being raised in a community with the moral standard of providing for our neighbors leaves me with no doubt that I am being taken care of through the Mid-Dakota rural water system as well. Mid-Dakota rural water helps me take care of body and ensures to me a strong foundation of high quality service they provide to all of their consumers.


How Agriculture and Rural Areas Benefit from Mid-Dakota Rural Water
By: Jaycee Baruth

Mid-Dakota Rural Water Systems has provided a clean and reliable water source for our farm and others in rural areas. Rural water is crucial for expansion of feedlots and pastures. Rural water gave my family the opportunity to build our house on the farm with a reliable and affordable water source. Rural water gives options to rural areas beyond maintaining and digging new wells.

Rural water has provided a reliable supply of clean and safe water to our feedlots, which is essential for the health and well-being of livestock. Before rural water, our feedlots utilized an artesian well as the water source. Rural water not only provides a more dependable water supply but also a cleaner and safer water supply. This is evident in the additional gains and health of the cattle since they have moved from a well to rural water. This change is not unique to our farm.

Farmers have seen improvements in their herd after offering them a clean and safe water source. Rural water has also allowed us to have a clean and safe water source in our pastures. Prior to rural water, the cattle would drink out of stock dams, creeks and slews. During droughts or periods of little rain these natural water sources would dry up. This required either the cattle to be moved home to a reliable water source or water had to be hauled to the pastures. Rural water provides reassurance cattle will have a reliable water source.

Rural water enabled us to live on our farm because it provided us with a reliable source of water at an affordable price. In 2006 my parents built a house on the family farm adjacent to my grandparents. Prior my grandparents used an artesian well to supply water to their home and feedlots. However, the well was at capacity. With the expansion of rural water, it allowed my parents to build a home in rural Beadle County without digging or maintaining a new well.

My grandparent's house and the feedlots by their house ran off an artesian well, until several years when the well broke. The artesian well was almost 40 years old and it had gone bad. By switching to rural water allowed them to have a continued water source for their home and the feedlots without digging a new well.

Rural water provides not only communities but rural areas with reliable, clean and safe water. As a fifth-generation farmer I am grateful for Mid Dakota Rural Water Systems and the benefits it provides to all users, humans and animals. It is an essential piece of rural areas growing and thriving. My goal is to live and work in the rural area after achieving my degree from Northern State University in Accounting and Agriculture Business and to continue to utilize the benefits of rural water.


2023 Scholarship Winners

Mid-Dakota Rural Water’s Effect on Communities
By: Abby Hasart

Mid-Dakota rural water has been very helpful in rural communities. Before the rural water project, the water was not always safe. It was easily contaminated and did not taste great. Some of the pastures did not even have access to water and livestock would have to trave long distances to get access to water. This caused farmers and ranchers to not be able to use their land well.

The rural water project solved all of these problems. It brought quality, reliable water to the house and the whole farm or ranch. It allowed reliable water to be placed in strategic location sin all pastures. I visited with family friend Dean Lockner. He told me that after putting in Mid-Dakota water, his calves were healthier because they had access to the improved quality and reliability of his water. Dean also stated that he was able to utilize his pastures better. Because he did not have to rely on his dugouts, he was able to implement rotational grazing which improve the quality of his pastures.

Having grown up south of Ree Heights, I was able to learn about the benefits of rural water. The Ree Heights community greatly benefitted from Mid-Dakota’s Rural Water System. The well from the 1800s, which everyone in the town used went bad and was no longer able to be used. Mid-Dakota came in and put their system throughout the town. This brought great relief to the town. The town no longer had to worry about where they were going to get clean, reliable water. I currently now live in Huron, and I can see the benefits of Mid-Dakota rural water. I am very thankful to have water I can rely on.


Mid-Dakota Rural Water System’s Impact
By: Ashlee Kaup

Imagine sitting in the living room, your parents are both gone, and you are in charge of your little brother and sister for the evening. Suddenly, you hear crackling. You go upstairs to check on your siblings, open your baby sister’s bedroom door and see flames against her wall. You act fast, grabbing your sister out of her crib and your brother who is in the adjacent room and get outside. Before you know it, community members are around your house, the fire department is called, and they are starting to spray water from the hoses to try and save your home.

Water is the middle of both economic and social development. It is important for a person’s heath, being able to grow food, maintain the environment, and produce jobs. Not only does water supply adaptations for animals to live and continue the life cycle, but rural water can also be easily distributed to people in my local community. We simply turn the faucet on to wash, drink, clean, garden, irrigate or prepare food. Living in a rural area, water plays a vital role in agricultural production to care for livestock and crops as well. Water is something we use every single day without fully being able to appreciate the vital role it plays.

Sometimes we take advantage of the resources that are given to use to supply ourselves with our personal needs. Clean water that is sanitized allows us to be safe from diseases or sickness that could develop though unhealthy water. Supporting our local businesses grows strong communities and helps stimulate our economy by keeping businesses booming in our region. We are fortunate to have rural water from Mid-Dakota to provide us with reliable water sources that are given to local communities like mine.

Whether water is used in your everyday life for your basic needs and necessities, or it’s used to try and save your family’s home in a fire, we can all reap the benefits of rural water and what Mid-Dakota has done to help. All and all, I’d like to thank Mid-Dakota for making a significant impact on now only myself and my family, but to all of those in my community and the surrounding areas that are impacted by Mid-Dakota’s services.


The Importance of Rural Water
By: Danielle Nowell

Without Mid-Dakota Water, living in a rural area would be much more difficult for many people. I live on a farm, and I can’t imagine how my family would get water if not for Mid-Dakota. My family relies on Mid0Dakota to provide water for showering, washing dishes, laundry, flushing toilets, brushing teeth, cooking, and watering plants around the house. I can easily go into the kitchen or bathroom and get a drink of water whenever I want. However, when my great-grandma was a kid, she told me they could either get water from a barrel outside with a dipper, or from the James River, which was on the edge of their property. It’s hard to imagine life without the convenience we have today. Especially when it comes to water.

When my mom was growing up, her family got their water from an artesian well. My mom recalls that the water was rusty and left orange stairs in their bathtub and sink. Her family sed this water for everything from cooking to showering. In fact, my mom’s light blonde hair was tinted orange from the water. Clothes that went into the wash would become more and more discolored overtime. Faucets and shower heads needed to be replaced frequently.

Mid-Dakota is not only vital to families like mine that live in rural areas, but also to the cities and towns of South Dakota. Without access to a reliable water system, communities would not be able to support homes, schools, and businesses. Growth and progress would be very difficult, and the local economy would feel the effects. Also, small towns don’t always have the manpower or capability to run their own water system. Mid-Dakota Rural Water provides these communities with a safe, convenient option at a reasonable cost.

South Dakota is great place to live, and rural water systems like Mid-Dakota play an important role in ensuring that stays true for years to come.


Point of Privilege: The Benefits of Rural Water
By: Ollie Smith

Like many other facets of life, water is essential to the growth and survival of human beings. However, access to this vital resource can become increasingly limited the further away from populous areas you live. For example, those living in rural areas, like my family and I, would be hopeless without businesses like Mid-Dakota Rural Water. These companies help distribute clean, accessible water to families living in rural areas. My family and I live around thirty minutes outside of Pierre, just around Peoria flats. Without the water that Mid-Dakota provides, we would have to rely on either stored rainwater, wells, or bottled water. As you can imagine, that water could be unclean and unsafe.

Growing up, I have become increasingly aware of how fortunate I am to live in an area that has access to clean water. Seeing stories on news outlets of those from other areas struggling to find clean drinking and bathing water is a good reminder of my privilege as a recipient of rural water. Instead of having to rely on bottled water or unclean water, my family and I have a consistent source of purified water that we can rely on. As someone who has lived both in a city and a rural area, I can confidently say that the rural water I rely on now is consistently higher quality than that of water in most cities; the commitment to a higher standard of quality by those at businesses like Mid-Dakota does not go unnoticed.

In addition to providing drinking water, rural water also helps families wash their clothes and dishes, which are also important aspects of life. Without access to clean water, many others like my family and I would not be able to sustain a life outside of cities. I am forever grateful to have the privilege to enjoy a glass of clean, cold water inside the comfort of my home. In fact, I plan to enter into geological engineering in college and pursue a career in hydrology or water systems. I hope to continue providing clean water for those in my community and help improve our ways of obtaining water.