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City of Liberal, Kansas and USDA Rural Development Help Families Build Homes

Six families gathered in Liberal, Kan., to celebrate the completion of their newly constructed homes.  The families utilized USDA Rural Development’s Self-Help Housing Program administered by the City of Liberal to help construct the homes.  The family members devote time and labor to painting, roofing, siding and other types of tasks and lower the cost of construction, while developing equity in their new home.

In 2006, the City of Liberal was awarded a technical assistance grant from USDA Rural Development to begin the Self-Help Housing Program.  Through the program, 30 homes have been built in Liberal.  USDA Rural Development’s direct home loans have financed $3.9 million in construction for Liberal’s self-help homes. Read more »

USDA Feeds Families, Dominates OPM Hall of Fame

Emily Clever, Morningside Shelter Case Manager, Deborah Boyd, RD Specialist, and Laura Gibson, co-chair of the Vermont RD Feds Feed Families campaign, deliver food donations to the Morningside Shelter in Vermont.

Emily Clever, Morningside Shelter Case Manager, Deborah Boyd, RD Specialist, and Laura Gibson, co-chair of the Vermont RD Feds Feed Families campaign, deliver food donations to the Morningside Shelter in Vermont.

With just over three weeks left in the 2011 Feds Feed Families campaign, we are nearing the finish line of what has been an extraordinary show of support, commitment and compassion from USDA employees across the country. Read more »

Bringing Relief to Tornado-Stricken Cattlemen

John Sudduth, Don Allison, Carl Godsey, Allen Owens  and NRCS’ Wade Hill distributed the fencing supplies to tornado victims in Marion, Franklin and Lawrence Counties.

John Sudduth, Don Allison, Carl Godsey, Allen Owens and NRCS’ Wade Hill distributed the fencing supplies to tornado victims in Marion, Franklin and Lawrence Counties.

When tornadoes struck Alabama in April 2011, people across the state rushed to help their neighbors with food, shelter and basic necessities. But volunteers didn’t have much time to help cattlemen round up and secure livestock. Read more »

Fourth Generation Farmer, Educator, and Lawmaker Helps White House Win the Future

Jason Frerichs, Farmer/Rancher/Educator, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Wilmot, SD

Jason Frerichs, Farmer/Rancher/Educator, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Wilmot, SD

Cross posted from the White House Rural Champions of Change website:

Jason is a fourth generation farmer/rancher, educator, and lawmaker from Wilmot, SD. Jason manages a 150 head beef cow/calf operation as well as raises corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa. Frerichs is an agriculture instructor at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, SD where he is also the Watertown Area FFA Advisor. Representative Frerichs has been a key player in the development of renewable energy and education issues in the State Legislature. Frerichs is actively involved in the Farmers Union, the South Dakota Education Association, SD Stockgrowers, and the United States Cattlemen’s Association.


Secretary’s Column: Putting Americans Back to Work

Last week, Congress reached an agreement to reduce the deficit and avoid a default that would have devastated our economy.  This compromise – which guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction – is an important first step to ensuring that we live within our means as a nation.

At the same time, the debt deal allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs.  We’re also not cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile. Read more »

Small and Medium-sized Businesses are Focus of National Export Initiative

“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the National Export Initiative (NEI) “New Markets, New Jobs” tour in Milwaukee, Wis. on Aug. 3, 2011. The focus of the tour is to help small- and medium-sized businesses gain access to the resources they need to export their products internationally.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at the National Export Initiative (NEI) “New Markets, New Jobs” tour in Milwaukee, Wis. on Aug. 3, 2011. The focus of the tour is to help small- and medium-sized businesses gain access to the resources they need to export their products internationally.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government kicked off the nationwide National Export Initiative “New Markets, New Jobs” tour designed to help connect small businesses with the resources they need to sell their products globally. Read more »