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Wood-to-Energy Recovery Act Funds Bring Jobs, Energy Savings to Maine

Maine Fuels for Schools. The firebox for Poland Regional High School's new Recovery Act-funded biomass heat system is hoisted into the boiler house, as school Principal Cari Medd (hat) and guests look on.

Maine Fuels for Schools. The firebox for Poland Regional High School's new Recovery Act-funded biomass heat system is hoisted into the boiler house, as school Principal Cari Medd (hat) and guests look on.

In August 2009, a total of $11.4 million in U.S. Forest Service Recovery Act funds were made available to the State of Maine for grants to help rural, economically depressed counties support the conversion of heating systems to wood/dual-fuel heating systems for an estimated 15 public buildings. Read more »

An Update on the Animal Disease Traceability Framework

On February 5, 2010, USDA announced a new, flexible framework for animal disease traceability in the United States. The Secretary of Agriculture and other USDA officials launched a widespread listening tour in 2010 to hear comments, concerns, and to discuss potential solutions to create a program producers can feel comfortable supporting.

USDA believes the traceability framework provides the basic tenets of an improved animal disease traceability capability. USDA continues to review and use comments and discussions collected during the listening tour to develop a flexible, coordinated approach for livestock moving interstate. The purpose of the draft proposed regulation for livestock moving interstate has always been to: Read more »

USDA Food and Nutrition Initiatives Thrive in the Windy City

Chicago SFSP partners kick off the city’s summer feeding season.

Chicago SFSP partners kick off the city’s summer feeding season.

During my recent trip to Chicago, I had the great fortune to visit several places that were doing tremendous work with many of USDA’s nutrition programs.  One of the first stops was to a local school where children were really excited to learn more about where their food comes from.  Read more »

Pipe Springs Ranch: Colorado’s 2011 Leopold Conservation Award Winners

The McEndree siblings have worked together to run their family ranching operation for seven years, and were recently awarded the Leopold Conservation Award.

The McEndree siblings have worked together to run their family ranching operation for seven years, and were recently awarded the Leopold Conservation Award.

In the southeastern-most part of Colorado lays the historic town of Springfield, known for its farming and cattle ranching communities. Read more »

In Charles City Iowa, USDA Officials Listen to Advice from Business Leaders at White House Roundtable Event

Access to capital, cutting edge technology and more responsive government programs will help drive rural innovation, according to participants at a White House Business Council roundtable in Charles City, Iowa yesterday. Facilitated by USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Administrator Jonathan Adelstein, the forum drew a group of rural business leaders from around the region. They raised issues ranging from the length of time it takes to process passport and visa applications to new regulations on banks and financial institutions.

Adelstein, who is one of the Obama Administration’s leading advocates for rural broadband, heard an extensive discussion of the shortcomings of rural broadband in Charles City. At the same time, rural telephone cooperatives described their success working with RUS to improve their systems. Charles City Mayor Jim Erb told Adelstein there exists a “rural-rural” divide in which some communities receive exceptional broadband service while others do not. Adelstein said the Obama Administration is working to extend high speed broadband throughout rural America and that USDA programs may be able to help. The probability that economic development and job creation in rural areas will be driven by access to high speed broadband was stressed. Read more »

Thanks to USDA, Alaska Native Villages will have Safe, Reliable Water Supplies

Project Manager Mike MarcAurele looks at the water source for the Alaska Native village of Kasaan.  Working with our partners, USDA funding is being used to improve water quality and sanitation across rural Alaska.  (Photo used with permission of Jerry Cnossen, Superintendent, ANTHC – DEHE)

Project Manager Mike MarcAurele looks at the water source for the Alaska Native village of Kasaan. Working with our partners, USDA funding is being used to improve water quality and sanitation across rural Alaska. (Photo used with permission of Jerry Cnossen, Superintendent, ANTHC – DEHE)

Not many people know the names of our small rural Alaska villages, but USDA Rural Development does!  We are pleased to share the names of 14 of these communities and the great news they received on July 15th. Read more »