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Forest Service Job Corps Graduates get Trip of a Lifetime in Kuwait

This April, the twins (Charmaine (R), Shaneka (l) will go to Kuwait for a long-term job with a six-figure salary. Photo courtesy Katie Dunn/The Coalfield Progress.

This April, the twins (Charmaine (R), Shaneka (l) will go to Kuwait for a long-term job with a six-figure salary. Photo courtesy Katie Dunn/The Coalfield Progress.

Little did Chamain and Shaneka Hicks know four years ago that they would be off on an adventure that their high school classmates would envy. Read more »

Under Secretary Hosts South Dakota Meeting on Renewable Energy Funding Opportunities

This afternoon, USDA Rural Development in South Dakota convened a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) meeting in Sioux Falls.  Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager addressed the group of 25 stakeholders.  Tonsager shared with the group that over the next couple of months, USDA Rural Development will be convening a total of 47 energy roundtables with stakeholders across the country to talk about energy opportunities.

“Our country is moving more and more toward renewable energy sources,” stated Tonsager. “Those of us at USDA want to stand up that renewable energy industry in America’s rural backyard, and we want to work with all of you to make it happen.” Read more »

Just the Facts: State vs. Federal School Nutrition Programs

In the past 24 hours, we’ve seen a lot of chatter online regarding a story from North Carolina in which a pre-school student’s lunch was deemed “unhealthy.”  We’d like to set the record straight.

As established by law, USDA promotes healthier lifestyles for our nation’s school children through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. The Department sets science-based nutritional standards for and oversees State administration of schools that choose to participate in these national programs. In exchange for meeting those standards, USDA provides reimbursement and other resources to schools so that children get the nutrition they need to learn, thrive and grow.

USDA does not, however, regulate sack lunches or any other food children bring from home to eat at school. That is a responsibility for parents,  not the federal government. The incident in North Carolina involved local education officials and a State-run nutrition program, and USDA had no involvement.

FSA Teams With CT AGvocate Program to Connect Residents With Local Farmers

Connecticut’s AGvocate Program promotes local farmers by inviting the public to area events and demonstrations. One event allowed residents to ride a wagon through a dairy barn to learn how milk is produced and how they can support local dairy farmers.

Connecticut’s AGvocate Program promotes local farmers by inviting the public to area events and demonstrations. One event allowed residents to ride a wagon through a dairy barn to learn how milk is produced and how they can support local dairy farmers.

Windham County Farm Service Agency in Connecticut has taken an innovative approach to connect consumers with their local farmer.

Through the state’s AGvocate program — a program designed to make farming viable in Connecticut towns — the agency received funding to promote agriculture by creating committees and commissions to help residents understand the importance of supporting local farmers. Read more »

US Forest Service releases 2011 Tax Guide for Forest Landowners

Federal Income Tax on Timber, complete with a current update of the new tax law changes, provides timely tax reporting information for woodland owners and their advisors.

Federal Income Tax on Timber, complete with a current update of the new tax law changes, provides timely tax reporting information for woodland owners and their advisors.

The Forest Service recently released the 2011 edition of Federal Income Tax on Timber: A Key to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions, a quick-reference guide to timber tax laws impacting woodland owners. Read more »

South Dakota Communications Cooperative Recognized at White House “Champions of Change” Event

Headquartered in the community of Highmore in the heart of South Dakota, Venture Communications Cooperative is committed to providing friendly, first-rate service.  Commitment to their members and customers has distinguished them as one of several businesses from across the country that were invited to Washington, D.C., today to share their ideas directly with the Obama Administration on how to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.  It’s called “Champions of Change”.

Venture Communications Cooperative was selected because of the broadband infrastructure and service expansion improvements they’ve made.  Venture Communications can streamline business communications from local and long distance phone services to Internet access. Read more »