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USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program Helps a Nebraska Stable Owner Cut Power Purchases by an Estimated 76 Percent

Colby Creek Stables, a horse stable facility located near Ithaca, Nebraska, in Saunders County offers a number of amenities for horses and riders, including a large indoor arena, heated barn aisles, and ventilated horse stalls.  The operation requires a substantial amount of electrical power.  Thanks to USDA, the purchase price of that electricity is dropping sharply.

The owners of the stables, Mark and Tara Timm, were interested in renewable energy options to offset the power needs of their operation and to, in the near future, take it off the grid completely.  The Timms determined that a combination, or “hybrid application”, of wind and solar power would be most beneficial for their operation. Read more »

Sign-up for Natural Disaster Assistance Program Opens Today

Sign-up for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program starts today for farmers and ranchers who suffered losses caused by natural disasters during the 2009 crop year.

This program provides assistance to producers who have suffered from natural disasters and is part of the ‘safety net’ designed to assist farmers and ranchers who feed America and the world. Read more »

Under Secretary for Food Safety Shares Some Insight on the Humane Handling of Livestock

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is making significant changes this year to strengthen humane handling enforcement-making it a more objective, and less subjective, measure.

As a public health agency, FSIS is responsible for ensuring that America’s supply of meat and poultry products are produced both safely and humanely. USDA takes that responsibility seriously and is deeply committed to the humane handling of livestock as we strive to improve food safety efforts. Read more »

Alabama Landowner Grows Produce in Winter, Models Conservation Practices

l-r:  Earl Snell and James Currington inspect the tomatoes growing in Snell's hoop house.

l-r: Earl Snell and James Currington inspect the tomatoes growing in Snell's hoop house.

On a recent December day, Earl and Clarisse Snell, of Skipperville, Alabama, proudly showed off the summer squash and tomatoes they were still growing at the start of winter thanks to the seasonal high tunnel they built earlier in the year. Also called hoop houses, seasonal high tunnels look a lot like greenhouses but require no artificial energy source—all they need is natural sunlight to grow vegetables, fruits, and other crops. Read more »

Regional Effort for Economic Development Gets Underway in Louisiana

Representatives of five rural Louisiana regions participated with USDA Rural Development, Southern Rural Development Center, Louisiana Economic Development, and the AgCenters at Louisiana State and Southern University as they launched the “Stronger Economies Together” (SET) Program. This meeting was held at the LSU Agricultural Center located in Central Louisiana.

This kickoff starts the planning stage for the teams as they work together to develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities in their communities. Stacey Brayboy, USDA Rural Development, Director of Community and Economic Development from Washington, D.C. was the keynote speaker. Read more »

Vermont Lenders and Service Providers Learn about Access to Capital for Farms and Food

Access to capital for farm and food businesses was the focus of a two-day workshop in December sponsored by the Vermont Farm Viability Program and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. The event was supported by the Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center which provides technical assistance to small value added food businesses and producers through a USDA Agriculture Innovation Grant to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Read more »