This week, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan toured the Main Street of Momence, Il, to view the positive growth made possible by USDA’s investments in rural revitalization. The community was decorated with corn stalks and fall mums to welcome Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan to this town of 3,200 people, located 50 miles south of Chicago. Merrigan and Momence residents enthusiastically toured several businesses that received financing thanks to a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG), administered by the USDA Rural Development agency. Last year USDA provided a $99,000 grant to “Main Street Momence,” a preservation and volunteer based economic development program, to help them establish a revolving, low-interest loan fund. The program is designed to help small businesses locate or remain in Momence’s historic downtown area. Thirteen months later, four businesses have taken advantage of the increased access to credit by taking out loans. As a result, these businesses have created 27 new full time jobs and saved another 21 in this past year alone. Read more »
On October 5, it was my great privilege to kick off Rural Development (RD) and the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) joint celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month at USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium. The theme for this month’s celebration is “Heritage, Diversity, Integrity and Honor: The Renewed Hope of America.” Read more »
Earthworms can generate tons of nutrient rich droppings, or “casts,” per acre each year on agricultural lands and gardens. And they’re such industrious little diggers that they can literally turn over the entire top six inches of a field in as few as 10 years. Read more »
I went back to school yesterday. And my teachers were fourth graders.
Fourth grade students at Hearst Elementary School in Washington, DC taught me and 200 other students about climate change, water quality and carbon footprints through the 4-H National Science Experiment. All across the country and world, hundreds of thousands of students were doing the same set of experiments today as part of 4-H National Youth Science Day. We saw how carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere and what its effects can be. Watching students make connections between their actions and the environment was really exciting for me, and with a sixth grader of my own, it was fun to experience science with these students and get a glimpse of how empowering science can be for these youngsters. Read more »
In 2008, Illinois received an unprecedented amount of rainfall, which flooded thousands of acres of agricultural lands. Historically, much of this land was floodplains that held and drained water. But in the past century, over half of the floodplains in Illinois have been altered by levees, lock and dams, and stream channelization. Water that enters these lands not only takes longer to drain, but also causes millions of dollars in crop damage. Read more »
This post is part of a special series written by students celebrating 4-H’s commitment to science.
“Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety- nine, one hu— Whoa watch where you’re going. Can’t a guy do some pushups without being trampled? Let me guess, you’re looking for Carlye? Thought so. Well, she’s at a lamb show. That girl is a 17-year-old livestock lover who spends quite a bit of her free time working, showing animals and just about everything else for Robertson County. Read more »