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An Alaska Food Bank Expands with Help from USDA Rural Development

If you’ve ever remodeled an existing home, you can appreciate this problem. Sometimes things just get complicated.

The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank in Alaska needed to grow.  The original 9,000 square foot building, constructed in 1997, no longer met the needs of the area, so an expansion was undertaken.  That’s when the problems surfaced.  A corner of the warehouse which houses USDA commodity food products had sunk, due to an old bury pit that had not been documented.  That issue, plus the need for new food cooling equipment, heating system upgrades, and handicap-accessible washrooms, a waiting room, an arctic entry and more warehouse space caused the food bank to turn to USDA Rural Development for a Community Facilities Direct Loan. Read more »

Broadband Project Gives Michigan a Boost

Recently, the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth hosted an event to commemorate the award of grants and loans to Air Advantage LLC through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Initiative Program and discussed the progress of the project to date. This is one of the largest single awards for USDA Rural Development in Michigan and it has tremendous potential to increase the economy in the Thumb region. Read more »

California Farmers Lead the way in On-Farm Renewable Energy Production

Use of wind turbines for renewable energy production on Midwestern farms is on the rise. Photo courtesy of USDA Rural Development.

Use of wind turbines for renewable energy production on farms is on the rise. Photo courtesy of USDA Rural Development.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the U.S. Department of Agriculture blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the agency’s rich science and research portfolio.

Whether visiting Napa or making my way across California’s central valley, I see more and more solar panels and wind turbines on the Golden State’s farms and ranches. And that’s not surprising to me since California has been leading the way towards energy independence and renewable energy production and use. Read more »

Renewable Energy Opportunities Discussed at Agriculture Outlook Forum

Speaking before a capacity crowd this morning at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, a distinguished panel representing three federal agencies and a member of the agricultural media discussed Federal renewable energy policy and its prospects to reduce consumption of imported oil, improve environmental quality and produce new jobs in rural America. Read more »

Trade Takes Center Stage at Agricultural Outlook Forum

Agricultural exports were at the forefront during yesterday’s National Export Initiative (NEI) session at USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum. Earlier that day, USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber announced the latest agricultural export forecast for fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2011), which set the stage for a lot of interest in NEI and a packed afternoon session. President Obama and USDA view exports as one of the key drivers of sustainable economic growth and job creation. That’s why, under NEI, President Obama set a goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Read more »

USDA Announces Claims Process for Hispanic and Women Farmers

UPDATE 3/12/2014:

USDA is committed to ensuring the integrity and impartiality of the claims process. A neutral, third party has been tasked with overseeing all aspects of the process, including notifications, to make certain that it is fair and equitable.  As we move forward, we’re focused on making sure our programs are more inclusive and accessible than ever to all Americans.

Today is an historic day for USDA.  Working with colleagues at the Department of Justice, we launched a program that provides a path to justice for Hispanic and women farmers who believe they were discriminated against by USDA between 1981 and 2000.  Many of these farmers and ranchers have waited and fought to get relief, but until now their only means of getting their complaints heard was to file an individual case in federal court.  Today we are providing folks with a simpler path that enables them to file a claim for compensation that will be resolved by a neutral party without the involvement of the courts. Read more »