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USDA and Recovery Act Funds Make Broadband, Business Opportunities a Reality in Rural Louisiana

On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  As a result of this Act, two Broadband groundbreaking ceremonies were held in Louisiana during the month of October.

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu and USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence W. Hawkins along with staff members were on hand for the announcement of two major broadband projects in Washington and Morehouse Parish. “By bringing this technology to underserved areas of the state, we will better equip our students with the necessary tools needed for a better quality education,” said Hawkins. Read more »

USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program Helps a Nebraska Stable Owner Cut Power Purchases by an Estimated 76 Percent

Colby Creek Stables, a horse stable facility located near Ithaca, Nebraska, in Saunders County offers a number of amenities for horses and riders, including a large indoor arena, heated barn aisles, and ventilated horse stalls.  The operation requires a substantial amount of electrical power.  Thanks to USDA, the purchase price of that electricity is dropping sharply.

The owners of the stables, Mark and Tara Timm, were interested in renewable energy options to offset the power needs of their operation and to, in the near future, take it off the grid completely.  The Timms determined that a combination, or “hybrid application”, of wind and solar power would be most beneficial for their operation. Read more »

Sign-up for Natural Disaster Assistance Program Opens Today

Sign-up for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program starts today for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses caused by natural disasters during the 2009 crop year.

This program provides assistance to producers who have suffered from natural disasters and is part of the ‘safety net’ designed to assist farmers and ranchers who feed America and the world. Read more »

Improving the Integrity of Rural Housing Investments

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has had a profound impact on the American people. Investments were made to create and save jobs, spurring economic activity and long-term growth. As a result, communities and families had access to resources to help lay a stronger foundation for the future of our country. In fact, through USDA’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed Program, over 80,000 American families were able to purchase or maintain a home. Read more »

Under Secretary for Food Safety Shares Some Insight on the Humane Handling of Livestock

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is making significant changes this year to strengthen humane handling enforcement-making it a more objective, and less subjective, measure.

As a public health agency, FSIS is responsible for ensuring that America’s supply of meat and poultry products are produced both safely and humanely. USDA takes that responsibility seriously and is deeply committed to the humane handling of livestock as we strive to improve food safety efforts. Read more »

USDA Market News – the Eyes and Ears of American Agriculture

Since 1915, the Market Reporters of USDA have tracked and reported the markets for agricultural products on a daily basis, both domestically and internationally.  With hundreds of daily reports, Market News provides timely, reliable and unbiased information that helps facilitate the efficient marketing of agricultural commodities and helps to “level the playing field” by ensuring that all market participants have access to the same information at the same time.  The motto of Market News is: “Get it, Get it Right, Get it Out.”

USDA reports markets for fruits and vegetables, livestock and grain, poultry and egg products, dairy, and cotton and tobacco.  Reports cover sales at various levels in the marketplace, movement or shipments of product, and other key market factors such as demand and other impacts on the market at that moment in time.  Market reports issued by USDA are frequently relied upon for value determination in a wide range of applications.  These include price setting at the farm or nearby locations, dispute resolution, insurance settlements, loan appraisal, and as the basis in many contracts. Read more »