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Wetland Conservation: Good for Nature, Good for the Soul

Taylor Moore (left) and his father Murry Moore. Photo by Mark Dorsett.

Taylor Moore (left) and his father Murry Moore. Photo by Mark Dorsett.

Maybe it’s Murry Moore’s profession as a funeral director that inspires him to put tired land to rest, but his restoration efforts of nearly 700 acres on the banks of the Obion River in western Tennessee has ensured a peaceful home for wildlife.

In the early 1950s, Moore’s parents bought the tract, and for years afterward they cleared it for timber. Later, Murry and his brother Dean began row cropping. Year after year, the land was flooded by the Obion and eroded bit by bit, leaving a field of unproductive crops and frustrated farmers. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: The Benefits of a Climate Action Plan for Rural America

This week, folks across the nation have come together with family and friends to celebrate America’s independence – and millions are enjoying the great outdoors.

That’s why this is an appropriate time to remember that we must protect America’s natural treasures for generations to come. A changing climate poses new threats to this goal – from an increased risk of severe wildfire, to more intense storms, to worse problems from invasive pests. Read more »

USDA Housing Administrator Spreads the Word about Homeownership Opportunities

(L to R) Administrator Trevino; Christine Rutherford, Peoples Bank and Trust; Stefanie Koester, homeowner; Janie Dunning, Missouri Rural Development  State Director; Mike Mullen, Equitable Mortgage; Pam Anglin, Missouri Housing Program Director and Corey Husak, Senator Claire McCaskill’s Office.  USDA photos.

(L to R) Administrator Trevino; Christine Rutherford, Peoples Bank and Trust; Stefanie Koester, homeowner; Janie Dunning, Missouri Rural Development State Director; Mike Mullen, Equitable Mortgage; Pam Anglin, Missouri Housing Program Director and Corey Husak, Senator Claire McCaskill’s Office. USDA photos.

Tammye Treviño, USDA Rural Development Administrator for Rural Housing Programs participated in a three-day tour throughout Illinois, Iowa and Missouri last month to highlight National Homeownership Month, a time when USDA, its federal partners and members of housing communities all across the country bring attention to the role housing plays in the economy.

As part of this tour Administrator Treviño visited Pilot Grove Savings Bank in Mount Pleasant to recognize the bank for using USDA Rural Development’s Guaranteed Rural Housing program to assist rural Iowans achieve their homeownership goals. Pilot Grove Savings Bank became an approved lender in 2001 and has used the USDA program to assist 70 families in obtaining a home in rural Iowa. Read more »

On Independence Day, Acknowledging Those Who Serve

That's an "almost home" smile! Photo of Maj. Matt McCoppin, USDA employee, taken at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo courtesy: Matt Branson. Photos used with permission.

That's an "almost home" smile! Photo of Maj. Matt McCoppin, USDA employee, taken at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo courtesy: Matt Branson. Photos used with permission.

Editors note:

As we mark the Independence Day holiday, it’s an important time to remember the honorable service of our nation’s active duty and reserve service members, and our veterans. More than 10,000 veterans are on our team at USDA – and still more are currently serving in National Guard and Reserve units around the country. The Ohio Rural Development office recently shared stories of two employees currently serving.

For many USDA employees, “moonlighting” means late nights on the tractor or in the barn. It’s hard work that offers great personal reward.  Likewise, two Ohio Rural Development team members recently undertook a special kind of second job: one that, a little like farming, entails great discipline and family sacrifice. Read more »

Oregon Dunes Teach Elementary Students about Conservation

Most people wouldn’t associate sand dunes with a forest, but on the central Oregon Coast, the Siuslaw National Forest is home for the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area – 40 miles of wind-sculpted, shifting sands towering up to 500 feet above sea level.

Formed by the ancient forces of wind, water and time, these dunes are like no others in the world. This is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and they provide numerous recreational opportunities with thick “tree islands,” open dunes, marsh-like deflation plains and beaches. Read more »

Summer Meals in California Promote Health and Education

To enjoy nutritious fresh fruit smoothies - Summer Food kickoff participants power a blender using a stationary bicycle.

To enjoy nutritious fresh fruit smoothies - Summer Food kickoff participants power a blender using a stationary bicycle.

On the grounds of Valley Hi-North Laguna Library in Sacramento, California, upwards of 150 children participated in the California Summer Meals kickoff event hosted by the California Summer Meal Coalition, Sacramento Public Library, and the Elk Grove Unified School District.  USDA’s Summer Food Service Program offers free meals during summer break so kids are better fueled with healthy food to learn and grow all year long.

Though the weather approached 100 degrees, the children were not deterred from learning about the importance of healthy meals during the summer months at this event. Read more »