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Helping Our Rural Citizens on Earth Day and Everyday

USDA NRCS and local officials plant a tree.  Earth Day, April 22, was founded by former U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and was first celebrated in 1970. Earth Day continues to be celebrated throughout the country.

USDA NRCS and local officials plant a tree. Earth Day, April 22, was founded by former U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and was first celebrated in 1970. Earth Day continues to be celebrated throughout the country.

Earlier this week, to help kick-off USDA Rural Development’s celebration of Earth Day, I joined with Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager in announcing support for more than 50 USDA Rural Development projects that will help improve water and wastewater systems and provide energy efficiency system upgrades to local  communities across the country. Read more »

USDA Utilities Administrator Announces Broadband Funding for Rural Residents

USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein and the Rural Development Broadband Division Staff welcomed over 200 people to the National Broadband Workshop on April 20 – 21, 2011 in Downtown Denver.

While rural communities face unique challenges in creating and sustaining good jobs, they are also presented with unprecedented opportunities for economic growth.  Increasing their access to broadband is one way in which Rural Development can assist communities on this journey.  Providing broadband service to our rural communities is a vital platform for job creation and a springboard for economic development for years to come.  Workshop sessions held focused on a variety of topics including financial analysis and business plan preparation. Read more »

Flex Fuel Pumps and a Green Energy Economy

Cross posted from the White House blog:

As gasoline prices continue to rise across the country, USDA is working with farmers and entrepreneurs to secure our nation’s long-term energy future and give Americans more choices about where to spend their gas dollars: at home or abroad.

For the past two years, USDA has worked to support the research, investment, and infrastructure necessary to build a nationwide biofuels industry that creates jobs in every corner of the country. Read more »

Let’s Help Kids Eat Healthy!

Richard Burley, a nutritionist for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southwest Regional Office, gives a presentation over the Food Pyramid and health eating to after-school kids at Jubilee Park & Community Center in Dallas. Jubilee is a revitalization project for community renewal and enrichment to Southeast Dallas.

Richard Burley, a nutritionist for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southwest Regional Office, gives a presentation over the Food Pyramid and health eating to after-school kids at Jubilee Park & Community Center in Dallas. Jubilee is a revitalization project for community renewal and enrichment to Southeast Dallas.

Seeing the results of Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs up close is always an amazing experience as an FNS employee.   In this case, I had that opportunity in Dallas recently at the Jubilee Park & Community Center. Founded in 1997, along with AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity and several faith-based organizations, the Center serves as a catalyst for community renewal and enrichment. Read more »

Methuselah, a Bristlecone Pine is Thought to be the Oldest Living Organism on Earth

The Inyo National Forest is home to many bristlecone pines, thought to be the oldest living organisms on Earth.

The Inyo National Forest is home to many bristlecone pines, thought to be the oldest living organisms on Earth.

Bristlecone pines are a small group of trees that reach an age believed by many scientists to be far greater than that of any other living organism known to man — up to nearly 5,000 years. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack, EPA Administrator Jackson, Meet Conservationist Farmers in Iowa

Monty Collins (left) talks to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about the environmental benefits of rotational grazing techniques used with his 30-head cow/calf operation near Pleasantville, IA, on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. USDA Photo.

Monty Collins (left) talks to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about the environmental benefits of rotational grazing techniques used with his 30-head cow/calf operation near Pleasantville, IA, on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. USDA Photo.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a day with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson as we toured rural Iowa seeing first-hand the ways farmers are helping protect our nation’s air and water resources. Read more »