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 »
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 »
As many as 28 students from the Pajaro Valley High School recently planted wetland trees, shrubs and grasses as part of a Pajaro River Watershed project near Watsonville, California.
For this project, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is working with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to restore wetland habitat in the Pajaro River floodplain. Read more »
We have a resource issue across the West, and here in Nevada in particular, that is crossing a number of boundaries in terms of its effects on rural economies, wildlife diversity and forest health. That issue is pinyon-juniper encroachment; which is the rapid growth of pinyon and juniper trees to the extent that risks of disease, insects and catastrophic fire intensify, and diversity of forage and wildlife are threatened. Extensive forest canopy blocks all of the light and plant life below, reducing the productivity of the land for both man and beast. Each year in Nevada, another 100,000 acres of P-J woodland converts to the highest density Pinyon-Juniper forest. Read more »
A partnership between USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) was a natural fit. KAB, the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action network, has been engaging individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their communities for over 50 years, through a grassroots network of nearly 1,000 local affiliates across the country. The People’s Garden Initiative – established in 2009 by Secretary Vilsack – challenges USDA employees to create sustainable gardens that benefit their communities through collaborative efforts. Read more »
Five months ago, I was offered one of the greatest opportunities of my budding career with USDA, an invitation to join the Office of Advocacy and Outreach as the Interim Lead for the USDA/1890 Program. I eagerly and enthusiastically accepted the challenge, and what an AMAZING experience it has been! Why so much excitement one may ask? The answer is quite simple, serving as the Interim Lead of the 1890 Program has given me the opportunity to do what every public servant is called to do….“give back.” Read more »