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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 »

Good Morning America Visits Chicago to Highlight a Healthy School

 Good Morning America staff visited Chicago's Academy for Global Citizenship, a Gold of Distinction Healthier US School, as part of a segment that featured Secretary Vilsack who announced proposed rules for new meal patterns as recommended by IOM. The piece aired on Thursday, January 14th.

Good Morning America staff visited Chicago's Academy for Global Citizenship, a Gold of Distinction Healthier US School, as part of a segment that featured Secretary Vilsack who announced proposed rules for new meal patterns as recommended by IOM. The piece aired on Thursday, January 14th.

Yesterday, an ABC Good Morning America (GMA) crew visited the Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago. Why was GMA at a small neighborhood school on the Second City’s southwest side on a frosty day in January? To help underscore the importance of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s recent announcement of proposed changes to school meal standards. Read more »

Meeting the Nutritional Needs of the Nation’s Schoolchildren

Cross-posted from the Let’s Move! Blog:

Ensuring our nation’s schoolchildren have the necessary nutrition to learn, grow, and thrive is commitment that we take very seriously at U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). On the heels of the historic passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, USDA has now released a proposed rule to enhance the quality of school meals by requiring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk in our national school meals programs.  In addition to these healthy offerings, schools will have new standards to limit the levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories, and trans fats in those same meals.

As children now eat as many as two meals a day at school, it’s clear that the school food environment plays a more vital role in their health and welfare.  The science-based recommendations are, in fact, consistent with an Institute of Medicine report on improving the health of children. Read more »

Through the Recovery Act, an Oregon Business, Small Bank Find Opportunity and Protect Jobs

A few years ago, RAM Trucking was mainly a hauler of building materials—but everyone knows what happened to the housing market. Yet, RAM Trucking is still on the road and more resilient than ever.

To safely steer his company when the economy began to slide, President Dale Latimer applied a basic principle of driving in hazardous conditions:  When the weather gets rough, keep your tires inflated to the right pressure and make sure you’ve got enough tread.  In this case, getting enough tread meant restructuring the company’s financing and accessing working capital to position for opportunities beyond the construction arena. Read more »

Alaska’s Tribal Organizations Share Views with USDA

On January 10 and 11, 2011, USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) visited Anchorage to conduct a consultation with Alaska Tribes on a wide range of subjects.

At the Consultation, OTR staff, and local and national agency officials met with representatives of Alaska’s Tribes for a discussion of programs and rules of four USDA agencies: Rural Development; Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Service; Farm Service Agency; and Natural Resource Conservation Service.  Through this process, USDA was provided with valuable local insight, comments and recommendations concerning delivery of the Department’s programs to Alaska’s Native people.  Much discussion related to the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provision of the 2008 Farm Bill. Read more »