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USDA Rural Development Recovery Act Investment Brings Broadband to Thousands of Residents of Iowa and Missouri

By Bill Menner and Janie Dunning, USDA Rural Development State Directors of Iowa and Missouri

Bringing broadband to rural communities is about more than guaranteeing your daughter has 24/7 access to Twitter, or giving your son unlimited opportunities to play video games. Read more »

USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program General Sign-Up Dates

By James Miller, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services

Earlier today I announced, on behalf of Secretary Tom Vilsack, an opportunity for landowners to enroll environmentally sensitive land into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).  CRP is administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Read more »

USDA FNS Partners with National Hispanic Civil Rights Groups to Fight Hunger and Obesity

By Lisa Pino, Deputy Administrator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Latino community faces dual challenges when it comes to nutrition since hunger and obesity can often co-exist. Hispanics in the U.S. have higher rates of both food insecurity and obesity. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is addressing the challenges through its 15 nutrition assistance programs, many of which include nutrition education. Read more »

When a Hospital Isn’t Just a Hospital

Submitted by: Colleen Callahan, Illinois State Director, USDA Rural Development

Question:  Why do you go to a hospital?

A: To visit someone who is sick
B. To get a diagnostic test
C. To see a specialist
D. To have surgery
E. To meet your trainer for your workout
F. All of the above Read more »

Diseases in the Flower Garden

Written by Kayla Harless, People’s Garden Intern

Today, Dr. Karen Rane presented a workshop in the People’s Garden about diseases of the flower garden. As a plant pathologist and diagnostician, she provided us with lots of fascinating insight. Dr. David Clement, a fellow plant pathologist, joined her in instructing the workshop. Read more »

Marianna, Florida Farmers Market Advances “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” Initiative

By Richard A. Machek, Florida State Director, USDA Rural Development

I recently returned from a groundbreaking ceremony that was 10 years in the making. Like many of Florida’s rural cities and towns, the City of Marianna has faced years of reduced revenues and a shrinking business district. Looking for ways to revitalize their downtown, Marianna city leaders developed a plan early on, but lacked the funds to make it happen. Finally, after securing $180,000 in state and county funds and a $253,000 USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG), Marianna broke ground on a farmers market that will anchor the city’s new downtown park and recreation area. Read more »