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From Ship to Shore: U.S. Soy to Benefit Afghan Families

Associate Administrator Janet Nuzum, center, with WISHH executive director Jim Hershey, left of Nuzum, ARREFF president John Fornazor, far left, and soybean producers from Virginia, Illinois and North Carolina with bags of soy flour bound for Afghanistan.

A view of the Port of Norfolk from the Virginia Port Authority’s (VPA) tenth-floor conference room. The soy flour is expected to leave the port on Dec. 23 and arrive in Afghanistan by Feb. 1.

As we approached Norfolk, Va. yesterday, we could see the big seaport cranes in the distance, hovering over neat stacks of multicolored containers. Hulking cargo ships moved in and out of the port, one of the East Coast’s busiest, collecting and carrying U.S. products to millions of consumers overseas. Truck drivers, longshoremen, port police – so many careers make up a bustling port city. Somewhere in this flurry was the container we had come to see. We found it at the facilities of ARREFF, just beyond the water’s reach in the town of Portsmouth. ARREFF is a “transloader,” a business that packs, repacks and helps to transfer U.S. products destined for foreign markets. Read more »

After 500 Loans, Beadle and Spink Enterprise Community (BASEC) is Still Going Strong

Beadle and Spink Enterprise Community (BASEC) just made its 500th loan and through its revolving loan program has loaned over $16 million dollars to improve the economic and housing climate of part of South Dakota since 1996. BASEC (named after the two counties it serves) has less than a 1 percent default rate and has made loans to all income levels with the majority being low to moderate income applicants.  Some of the borrowers have had excellent credit histories and some not so good.  Executive Director Lori Hintz feels the key to the low default rate besides the fact that great people live in the service area, is that when times get tough, they try to work out a plan that works for them, their cash flow and their situation. Read more »

Hitchhiking at Christmas

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Even in a tropical paradise like Hawaii, Christmas just isn’t Christmas to some folks without an evergreen tree decked out with twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments. But some USDA scientists worry about that Yule tree being decked out with something else: invasive western yellowjackets. Read more »