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Pennsylvania Lakeside Community Sewer Extension Has Minimal Impact

Nuangola lakeside homes, surrounding roads and outbuildings, are experiencing little impact during the sewer extension construction project.

Nuangola lakeside homes, surrounding roads and outbuildings, are experiencing little impact during the sewer extension construction project.

As a sewer extension project winds through the lakeside community portion of Nuangola, Pennsylvania, residents are experiencing minimal impact.  Last year, Nuangola Borough received $4.4 million in USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Program (WEP) loans and $3.9 million in WEP grants to fund the installation of a low pressure wastewater collection system for the borough. Treatment of the wastewater collected will be done by the neighboring authority’s existing sewage treatment facility. The system will serve an estimated 420 homes. Read more »

Ensuring Modern, Timely Decisions for Infrastructure Projects

Today the Obama Administration announced a Presidential Memorandum that expands a government-wide effort to improve the Federal permitting and review process. This is a big step for USDA because it will help us ensure timely decision-making and review of infrastructure projects, while ensuring the environmental protections that stand at the heart of the review process.

It’s very important to President Obama and I that well-managed, beneficial projects aren’t held up by unnecessary delays. USDA is committed to the President’s goals of modernizing the permitting and review of infrastructure projects because our efforts are particularly important in rural America. By ensuring timely review of projects, we can better carry out our mission to strengthen community infrastructure and provide opportunities for rural America to create clean, renewable energy. By fostering greater transparency and predictability in the Federal permitting process, we’ll be able to deliver better value for the taxpayer while still avoiding negative impacts to our natural and cultural resources, which remain equally important drivers of economic opportunity. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Food, Farm and Jobs Bill: Helping Protect Our Natural Resources

This year, passage of a long-term, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is critical to providing certainty for U.S. producers. This includes the continued availability of conservation programs that give our farmers, ranchers and private foresters the means to conserve the soil, protect our water and sustain America’s natural resources.

Thanks to programs provided by the Farm Bill, USDA has been able to enroll a record number of private lands in conservation practices. Over the past four years, we have worked with more than 500,000 producers, landowners and private foresters on projects that help the environment, while providing a new source of income.

From May 20 to June 14, USDA is holding the 45th General Signup under the Conservation Reserve Program – another important effort provided by a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. Read more »

From the White House Kitchen: Healthy and Traditional Asian American and Pacific Islander Cuisine

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! Blog:

Growing up in the Philippines, my mother was my main source of inspiration for cooking. I came from a family of eleven kids, and as a child, I would constantly volunteer to help her in the kitchen. My mother would prepare such amazing authentic Filipino food, and cooking for her was almost second nature. She didn’t think about it, she just knew what ingredients to use, how much of each to use, and how to combine their flavors in ways that would satisfy everyone in the family. So Filipino food for me is much more than just adobo, longganisa, or tocino and fried rice – it represents a huge part of my culture, and most importantly, it is what connects me with my family. And that’s why it’s so important to me that we think about Filipino food not just in terms of what’s delicious, but in terms of what’s healthy and nourishing for our families.

That’s why I’ve teamed up with Chef Ming Tsai, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help promote healthy and traditional Asian American and Pacific Islander cuisine. Following a healthy cooking and eating lifestyle has always been important for me as a chef and a mom, and with the USDA’s MyPlate food icon, we have a powerful visual reminder about how to build healthy meals for our families. Read more »

Trout Hatching Gives Students a Window to Conservation

 

Chapman Hill Elementary students monitor the development of rainbow trout eggs they’re raising in their classroom as part of an international fish education project.  (U.S. Forest Service photo/Becky Flitcroft)

Chapman Hill Elementary students monitor the development of rainbow trout eggs they’re raising in their classroom as part of an international fish education project. (U.S. Forest Service photo/Becky Flitcroft)

Recently, elementary students in three Oregon classrooms welcomed a few hundred special guests that required unique accommodations — a small refrigerator, a covered tank, gravel, and a water filter.

The students were part of an international fish education project that connected students in Oregon and Northern Ireland through the common experience of raising and releasing native trout. Read more »

USDA Uses Grant Funds to Expand Businesses and Create Jobs in South Dakota

Last fall, South Dakota USDA Rural Development highlighted a valuable partner; GROW South Dakota, formerly known as the Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation, for its 18 year partnership in community lending.  While giving back to the communities they serve, GROW South Dakota has also contributed to the region as a whole through its fiscal administrative support of regional planning and development through a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG)  and a  Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG).

Said South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks, “The total impact that GROW has had is not just measured in loans made or jobs created; they have assisted in the stabilization and creation of thriving, vibrant communities in rural South Dakota.”  USDA funds have been used to develop and provide web-based technical assistance for the region’s partnering organizations and for a regional website that provides a central link to local organizations and expertise for the current technology and available social media. Read more »