Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager Visits Maine Community Development Projects

USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager had a unique opportunity to see the many dynamic things happening in rural Maine communities during his visit earlier this month. Each of the projects he visited represented a different way in which USDA Rural Development’s Programs are playing valuable roles, providing a multitude of benefits, including renewable energy, business sustainability, job creation and retention, distance learning, and telemedicine.

USDA Officials tour a new USDA-funded wind project that meets much of the power needs of a Maine island.

USDA Officials tour a new USDA-funded wind project that meets much of the power needs of a Maine island.

For example, I joined the Under Secretary and the Northeast Region State Directors on a ferry to Vinalhaven, a remote island community 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Once there, we were greeted by Town Manager Marjorie Stratton, and led on tours of the Fox Islands Wind site by Fox Islands Wind CEO George Baker, and COO Bill Alcorn. The three immense wind turbines will generate about as much clean renewable wind power as the Fox Islands use, which is between 10 and 10.5 million kilowatt hours per year. USDA Rural Development provided funding support to make possible the total $14 million wind turbine project. Read more »

A Pennsylvania Family Celebrates June Homeownership Month with USDA Officials

Pennsylvania Rural Development  State Director Tom Williams (far left) and Acting Administrator for Rural Business Services John Padalino (far right), celebrated National Homeownership Month with Rural Development Housing Loan Recipient Willie Hall and his family at their new  home in Chambersburg.

Pennsylvania Rural Development State Director Tom Williams (far left) and Acting Administrator for Rural Business Services John Padalino (far right), celebrated National Homeownership Month with Rural Development Housing Loan Recipient Willie Hall and his family at their new home in Chambersburg.

Willie Hall and his family are enjoying the American Dream and USDA Rural Development has been with him along the way. Willie was a tenant at Roxbury Ridge Apartments, a Rural Development Multi-Family Housing complex in Shippensburg for many years. He recently accepted a full time position and took the step forward from rental housing to homeownership with the help of a Rural Development Direct low interest home loan. Willie and his family of five are now settled into a 3-bedroom home in a quiet Chambersburg suburb. Read more »

Forest Products Lab Hosts Important Wood-to-Energy Roundtable with Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer

Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, paid a visit to the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wis., recently to convene an important roundtable discussion on wood-to-energy concerns in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Among the participants were wood scientists and technology transfer authorities from FPL and Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, representatives from the logging and paper industries, academics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Resource Center, state natural resources officials, and other national and regional Forest Service officials. Read more »

Barley’s Biofuel Bang

ARS chemical engineer Akwasi Boateng (right) and mechanical engineer Neil Goldberg (center) adjust pyrolysis process conditions while chemist Charles Mullen (left) loads the reactor with bioenergy feedstock.

ARS chemical engineer Akwasi Boateng (right) and mechanical engineer Neil Goldberg (center) adjust pyrolysis process conditions while chemist Charles Mullen (left) loads the reactor with bioenergy feedstock.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Although corn is perhaps the most familiar player on the American biofuel scene, scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) say in the long run, barley and its byproducts could prove to be a viable renewable fuel option. Read more »

USDA and Habitat for Humanity Partnership Builds Home for Rural Minnesota Family

A unique partnership between USDA Rural Development and Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County, Minn., (HFHDC) has helped make Cassandra Braford a proud new homeowner.

Braford, a waitress, recently moved into her home in Alexandria, Minn., with her children, Ramsey and Riyada, and her mother, Jean. The home was financed through USDA Rural Development’s direct home loan program. Braford built her home in partnership with HFHDC. Read more »

Children in the Rio Grande Valley Enjoy Summer Food and Fun

As summer time begins, I think of children playing with their friends and having a great time as they enjoy their vacation from school.  I am also very aware that some children may go hungry during the summer months.  Fortunately for children in the Rio Grande Valley on June 1, Catholic Charities began their second year providing meals to children up to age 18 through USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.  Catholic Charities is now providing summer meals in Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties in South Texas.

Children select a few healthy options for lunch.

Children select a few healthy options for lunch.

Read more »