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USDA Rural Development State Director Tours Southwestern North Dakota to Connect with Community Leaders

USDA Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider, and staff, recently toured seven rural communities in southwestern North Dakota as part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to rural communities.  Schneider participated in conversations with community leaders to identify ways Rural Development programs can most effectively work to improve the quality of life and increase economic opportunity in the region. Read more »

The Recovery Act Saves Jobs and Provides Support for North Carolina Facilities and Businesses

The Franklin Community Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated in Toast, North Carolina was able to secure a Community Facilities Direct loan through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development with monies available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The loan has allowed the fire department to construct a new facility for larger fire trucks and emergency vehicles. The building will also serve as an emergency management shelter should the need arise and be equipped with a helipad.

The Franklin Community Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated in Toast, North Carolina was able to secure a Community Facilities Direct loan through the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development with monies available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The loan has allowed the fire department to construct a new facility for larger fire trucks and emergency vehicles. The building will also serve as an emergency management shelter should the need arise and be equipped with a helipad.

The Franklin Community Volunteer Fire Department, Incorporated in Toast, North Carolina had a problem. The department had outgrown its current facility and was “land locked” with no expansion room. Read more »

Talking Nutrition with Stephen Colbert

A bust of Stephen Colbert sculpted in cheddar from the largest organic dairy cooperative in the country.

A bust of Stephen Colbert sculpted in cheddar from the largest organic dairy cooperative in the country.

Last night, I stopped by the Colbert Report to talk about the critical role the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plays in promoting healthy eating.  I am familiar with Stephen’s unfortunate bear phobia, so Smokey Bear  was asked to stay back at headquarters. The topics of hunger and nutrition, however, are no laughing matter, so I was excited to have the opportunity to discuss these important issues with Stephen and his viewers.   Read more »

Crop Insurance Works In Adams County, PA

Adams County, PA – Chris Swartz has learned that keeping up with changes in your markets and being quick to respond is essential for her 13-year old diversified, small farm business to survive. It has to be when the competition is constantly changing. Read more »

Dam Removal Enhances Massachusetts Wildlife Habitat

Fifteen hardy New Englanders stood in the cold November rain recently to watch the demolition of one of the largest dams ever to be removed in Massachusetts. The crowd was made up of representatives from a diverse group of public and private partners that have been working together toward this day. The removal of the Briggsville Dam in Clarksburg, a small town near the Vermont border, will restore the North Branch of the Hoosic River. Read more »

Dairy Barn Transformation is a Symbol of Its New Role

This 100-year old former Vermont dairy barn will soon be a school for at-risk students.

This 100-year old former Vermont dairy barn will soon be a school for at-risk students.

Construction has begun on Laraway’s new home.  Looking at this hundred-year-old dairy barn jacked up in the air on the occasion of last month’s ground-breaking, it occurred to me that this labor of renovation and rejuvenation foreshadows what happens to the at-risk kids who come to Laraway Youth and Family Services in Johnson, Vermont. Read more »