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Minnesota City Uses USDA Recovery Act Funds to Upgrade Water and Wastewater Systems

Travelers on Interstate 94 in central Minnesota are greeted by a smiling face whenever they pass through the city of Freeport. For years, the city has been known for the smiley face painted on its water tower. Unfortunately, due to the tower’s age, it no longer meets the needs of the community of 450 people.

Using loan and grant funds from USDA Rural Development, Freeport will build a new water tower, replace water mains, make water main looping improvements and replace old sewer lines. The loan portion of the Rural Development funds come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama in February of 2009. Read more »

Down on the Farm with Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Agriculture

On Monday, I had the honor of hosting Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Agriculture Bayu Krisnamurthi at my 1,700-acre corn, soybean, and wheat farm in Smyrna, Delaware. This opportunity is a direct result of my visit last month to Jakarta where I led 18 U.S. companies on an Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission. When Vice Minister Bayu told me he would be traveling to the United States this month, I invited him to visit my farm. He warmly accepted my invitation.

The United States and Indonesia are strong allies and trade between us continues to grow. In November 2010, President Obama and President Yudhoyono formally launched the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership. Through this partnership, both of our countries are looking to expand trade and investment and commercial relationships, creating tremendous possibilities for economic development and cooperation. Read more »

A Recycling Trailer Makes a Nebraska Community Environmentally Friendly

USDA Rural Development in Nebraska celebrated with the City of Pawnee City last month in honor of Earth Day, the recent delivery of a multi-bin recycling trailer.  City officials, school children and those instrumental to the project attended.  The ribbon was cut signifying the community dedication to this project and a plaque from Rural Development was presented applauding the City for securing the funds needed.  Rural Development assisted with a grant of $8,000 leveraged with $6,555 from the City.  A host of children took part in the event and poster contest winners were announced.

The recycling trailer establishes a stable, sustainable recycling connection for all citizens of Pawnee City.  A City staff member shuttles the trailer to a regional recycling center at least twice a month.  The Pawnee City Student Council leaders volunteered to assist in the oversight and maintenance of the trailer and were present at the event to give a demonstration. Read more »

Teaming Up to Triple Summer Food for Rio Grande Valley Kids

Summer is just around the corner with most schools and school meal programs closing down for summer break.  Without school meals to depend on, too many kids don’t have access to a nutritious meal.  The Summer Food Service Program provides kids in low-income areas a free nutritious meal or snack each day.

An expanded partnership among USDA, Texas Department of Agriculture and Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley can potentially triple the number of kids served this summer through the Summer Food Service Program in the Rio Grande Valley. Read more »

Guatemalan Girl Reaps Benefits of USDA’s Food for Education Program

Yenifer stands in front of her family’s small house, which she shares with her mother and two brothers.

Yenifer stands in front of her family’s small house, which she shares with her mother and two brothers.

The USDA McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program is working to make a difference in Central America. Guatemala has one of the highest rates of stunting in the world due to chronic malnutrition. More than 90 percent of families live on less than $2 a day and as a result, the majority of children are obligated to help their parents in the fields and stop attending school. Without education, their opportunities for work are greatly reduced. Read more »

The Competition Gets Prickly as Judges Head to Minnesota

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

I can’t tell you if there are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, but I can tell you that there is one creative group of students the South Education Center Alternative (SECA) in Richfield, Minn. Richfield was the next stop in the First Lady’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition judging round. We were eagerly anticipating the visit to SECA because their entry in the whole grains category, Porcupine Sliders, definitely caught our attention with their prickly title.

SECA students Adilene, Chris, Dominic, and Dolores look like they are paving a culinary future for themselves with this hit recipe.  Along with chef Todd Bolten, teacher Theresa Guthrie, and public health nurse Mary Lair, the students developed the Porcupine Sliders recipe, one of 15 semi-finalists. Read more »