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We Did It! Residents of Rural America Access Broadband Services Thanks to the Recovery Act and USDA

This fall USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) successfully completed its final round of grant awards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).  In the last year and a half, we’ve done more to bridge the digital divide for rural Americans than many ever thought possible.  The Recovery Act has unleashed an historic level of investment in rural high speed telecommunications infrastructure that will create new jobs, new services and new opportunities across the countryside. Read more »

My Experience as an Intern with the SC NRCS Dillon Office

Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe the way I felt on the first day of my internship with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. There was so much to learn—program acronyms, database information, how to do a field check…But I was told by my co-workers that I would learn fast.

And two and a half months and one bottle of Tylenol later, I realized that they were right. I was catching on. Slowly. Read more »

Digging the “Real Dirt” at an Historic USDA Laboratory

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

1935:  It was the year when baseball legend Babe Ruth hung up his spikes, and New Deal programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps extended a helping hand to a nation devastated by the Dust Bowl and gripped by the Great Depression. Read more »

Improvements in LGM Dairy Insurance

We here at USDA have been working on improving insurance coverage for America’s farmers and ranchers.  In particular, we have been working hard to improve insurance coverage for dairy producers.  In recent years, dairy farmers across the country faced a crisis and thousands considered bankruptcy.  One of the ways in which USDA has taken action is by improving the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle plan of insurance. Read more »

USDA Programs Are Available to Assist Local Farm Owners

Farm owner Andy Dunham (wearing cap) explains his crop production system to John Whitaker, FSA Iowa State Executive Director

Farm owner Andy Dunham (wearing cap) explains his crop production system to John Whitaker, FSA Iowa State Executive Director

Recent estimates indicate only nine percent of family farm income comes from farming and fewer than half of our nation’s farmers and ranchers list farming as their primary occupation. Read more »

A USDA Home Repair Grant Helps a Limited-Income Texas Homeowner Save Energy, Make Improvements

Julia Reyna was in need of assistance to repair her roof, replace the front and back doors, and replace falling sheetrock.  She manages her bills with monthly income from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and SNAP (food assistance) however this did not provide her with enough income to pay for additional expenses.

Julia is 67 years old and suffers from arthritis. The condition of her house allowed cold and rain to penetrate.  During a visit to the USDA Rural Development office in Amarillo, Julia said that her roof had been severely damaged by hail, wind, and rainstorms that are prevalent in the Texas Panhandle. Due to the roof damage, there was extensive ceiling damage in the utility room and the bedrooms. The sheetrock had fallen from the ceiling in a number of places. Read more »