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USDA is Helping Oregonians Live the American Dream

“I will always be grateful for the experience and the opportunity USDA RD, with the Mutual Self Help Program, has made possible for me and my sweet grandchildren. It is a dream come true and a prayer answered.” —Regine Lovely, new Oregon  homeowner

“I will always be grateful for the experience and the opportunity USDA RD, with the Mutual Self Help Program, has made possible for me and my sweet grandchildren. It is a dream come true and a prayer answered.” —Regine Lovely, new Oregon homeowner

June is National Homeownership Month, and this year’s theme is “Rural Housing, Rural Jobs” to recognize the housing sector’s significant role in creating jobs, maintaining viable rural communities and contributing to the economy. Read more »

USDA’s Food for Progress Program Helps African Growth and Opportunity Act Countries Integrate into the Global Economy

A farmer field school in Sanoyea Town, Bong County, Liberia. Photo Credit: ACDI/VOCA.

A farmer field school in Sanoyea Town, Bong County, Liberia. Photo Credit: ACDI/VOCA.

Nations like Liberia have much to gain, as high-level officials from the United States and 37 Sub-Saharan African countries gather in Lusaka, Zambia, for the June 9-10 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum.  Not only is Liberia eligible for AGOA trade preferences, allowing it to export a host of agricultural products to the United States duty-free, but it could receive more than $87 million in U.S. assistance in fiscal year 2011 to strengthen economic growth, which includes its agricultural sector. U.S. trade capacity building and technical assistance places Liberia in a better position than most to take advantage of AGOA trade preferences. Read more »

Michigan Tribe and NRCS Partner to Provide Safe Fish Travel in Great Lakes Basin

“The streams of a watershed are like the body’s circulatory system,” says Todd Warner, Natural Resources Director of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), in the northwest Upper Peninsula of Michigan, along the Keweenaw Bay of Lake Superior.

KBIC and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are partnering on a project to improve the health of that circulatory system on KBIC tribal lands and surrounding areas as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Team Steps Forward to Assist a Tornado-Damaged Kansas Community

The Reading Grain & Lumber Company facility, an important source of local employment, was heavily damaged by the tornado.

The Reading Grain & Lumber Company facility, an important source of local employment, was heavily damaged by the tornado.

Weather-related disasters have plagued the United States this spring and the rebuilding efforts appear daunting.  The same weekend that Joplin, Missouri, was devastated by an EF5 tornado, Reading, Kansas, a rural town with a population of 250 was struck by an EF3 tornado.  The scale of the damage in Reading is not comparable to Joplin in terms of dollars, numbers of homes and businesses damaged, or in lives lost.  But the damage in the eyes of each individual and family is equal when you talk to displaced residents of either community. Read more »

Big Day in the Big D – 154 schools receive HealthierUS School Challenge awards

Students from Thomas A. Edison Middle Learning Center perform the dance/exercise routine they did during the recent Let's Move! national event.

Students from Thomas A. Edison Middle Learning Center perform the dance/exercise routine they did during the recent Let's Move! national event.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog.

May 25 was a fabulous day in Dallas as I presented 154 HealthierUS School Challenge awards to schools of the Dallas Independent School District – the greatest number to a single school district thus far. 78 schools received gold awards and another 76 earned bronze level awards.  And, Texas leads the nation with 228 out of 1155 schools in 42 states that have earned awards. Read more »

Farmers Market Promotion Program: Expanding Food Access Through Direct Marketing

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rings the bell opening the 2011 Farmers Market located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Friday, Jun. 3, 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rings the bell opening the 2011 Farmers Market located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Friday, Jun. 3, 2011.

As the opening of this season’s USDA Farmers Market occurs today in Washington, D.C., Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced approximately $10 million is available to expand direct marketing opportunities and help to eliminate food deserts and increase food access in low-income communities in the United States through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). By funding projects that increase access to healthy and affordable food while expanding market opportunities for farmers and ranchers, the Farmers Market Promotion Program continues to contribute to the economic and physical health of communities around the country. Read more »