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USDA Rural Development Administrator Tours Rural Maine Public Safety Improvements and Celebrates New Homeowners

USDA Rural Development Administrator for Housing and Community Programs Tammye Trevino presents new homeowners John Barnes and Jennifer Harry with a framed picture of their new home.

USDA Rural Development Administrator for  Housing and Community Programs Tammye Trevino visited Maine to participate in events highlighting a rural police department, new homeowners, and to attend a high-level forum “Housing in America: Innovative Solutions to Address the Needs of Tomorrow” organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission in Partnership with the Jack Kemp Foundation. Read more »

Organic 101: Organic Certification Cost Share Programs

To protect the integrity of the organic industry and its products, farms must certify that their operations are following USDA organic regulations.  The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service offers farms resources to help offset the certification costs. To protect the integrity of the organic industry and its products, farms must certify that their operations are following USDA organic regulations.  The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service offers farms resources to help offset the certification costs.

To protect the integrity of the organic industry and its products, farms must certify that their operations are following USDA organic regulations. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service offers farms resources to help offset the certification costs.

This is the seventh installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

 

Annual organic certification fees allow certifiers to carry out their responsibilities. These fees vary according to an operation’s size and other variables. In light of that, the USDA organic cost share programs help to ensure that these costs don’t discourage those wanting to pursue organic certification. The programs make certification more affordable by reimbursing producers and handlers for as much as 75%—up to a maximum of $750 a year—for their certification costs. Eligible costs include application fees, inspection fees, travel for certification inspectors, and even postage. Read more »

Forest Service Announces $4 Million for Alternative-Energy Projects

The U.S. Forest Service recently announced nearly $4 million in grants to help develop affordable woody biomass energy in rural communities. The facilities will use wood pellets such as those pictured here. Thinkstock

The U.S. Forest Service recently announced the award of nearly $4 million in grants for wood energy projects around the country to help expand regional economies and create new jobs. The grants, totaling $3.9 million, will be distributed to 20 small businesses, tribes and community groups to develop renewable energy projects. Read more »

Prescribed Burning and Mechanical Thinning Pose Little Risk to Forest Ecology

Prescribed burn at the Tahoe National Forest. (Photo: Steve McKelvey, U.S. Forest Service

There’s hot debate over whether or not to conduct prescribed burning and mechanical thinning (the manual removal of trees) in our nation’s forests. Supporters of these fuels reduction methods, which remove highly flammable undergrowth, argue that they help lower the severity of wildfires. Meanwhile, opponents say that the treatments can hurt the environment.  Read more »

With Support from USDA, A Michigan Town Clears the Iron from its Water

The moment of truth: USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner (fourth from right) cuts the ribbon to Williamston’s new water treatment plant with Willamston Mayor James DeForest.

The grand opening of Williamston, Michigan’s Water Treatment Plant featured an unusual beverage as its centerpiece:  Tap water. Along with a celebratory cake and other snacks, the organizers offered up large chilled containers of Williamston’s new and improved drinking water – and residents were happy to help themselves. Read more »

Rural Wisconsin Residents to Benefit from a USDA-Funded Broadband Expansion Project

Carol Wetuski, USDA Rural Development Area Director, and Al Ripp, TDS Regional Marketing Manager cut the ribbon to mark commencement of construction on the broadband stimulus project. Wetuski and Ripp were joined by representatives and workers from InterCon Energy Services and TDS Telecom; and Green County Development Corporation Executive Director, Anna Schramke for the celebration.

It goes without saying that broadband-high speed internet has changed the way we live our lives.  And it should . . . this is the digital age.

For many it is hard to imagine how you would get by without it.  With access to the internet, one can easily sell a car, find and apply for a job, read the news, manage a business, or work from home.  The advantages of having broadband access is that you can connect to anywhere in the world on your terms, at your convenience, when you want – that is unless you live in rural America. Read more »