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My Plate Made Your Way

Since the launch of My Plate, the United States Department of Agriculture’s new food icon, photos of your interpretation of a perfect plate have been filling our twitter feeds.  Many of you have captured pictures of your healthy meal and posted these photos to twitter followed by the hashtag #MyPlate and a delicious description.  Each plate, not only makes our mouths water, but shows how eager Americans have been to  follow a healthy eating plan based on the new USDA symbol.

U.S. Bovine Genetics Help Increase Milk Production in Rwanda

Many countries around the world face challenges when it comes to milk production, particularly in Africa. Over the years, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has helped to address this issue through education exchange programs, benefiting farmers around the world.

Rwanda is among the lowest milk-producing countries in the world, with a mere 3.2 liters produced per cow per day compared to 36 liters in the United States. Of the 1.2 million cattle in the country, only 13.6 percent produce milk. In addition, per capita milk consumption remains low at 31 liters annually compared to 100 liters in Kenya. Read more »

Ninety one-Year-Old Kansas Woman Receives Assistance from Rural Development to Repair her Home

Submitted by Jessica Bowser, USDA Kansas Public Information Coordinator

What makes a house a home?  That answer can vary, depending on who you ask, but to one Kansan it’s much more than the furnishings or the structure that makes her house a home.

Sarah Heckel of Hiawatha, Kansas, has lived in her home for 25 years.  Heckel and her husband moved to Hiawatha from South Dakota to be closer to her family.  Shortly after they moved to Kansas, Heckel’s mother passed away. Heckel and her husband moved into her mother’s house, where she still lives today.  The house has remained in the family for more than 55 years. Read more »

USDA Announces Streamlining of Program to Improve Water Quality in Alaska Rural Villages

Yesterday, USDA Rural Development in the State of Alaska hosted the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rural Alaska Village grant (RAVG) program partners.  The MOU partners, which include the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (SOA DEC), Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), and the Indian Health Service (IHS), are essential in the continued effort to bring safe water and waste systems to rural Alaskan communities. Read more »

Let’s Move! Across Missouri

Anyone can be healthy “if you eat right and try to get moving,” said a young participant in Move Across Missouri, a program developed in partnership with University of Missouri Extension 4-H and the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Move Across Missouri encourages 4-Hers to increase their physical activity and track the time they spend moving through the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), which challenges kids to log 60 minutes of physical activity for five days out of the week for six out of eight weeks. Read more »

In Arizona, Rural Development Housing Programs Provide a Stable Environment for Families

The parents were leery about another rental, fearing having to move yet again. Rather serendipitously, the mother saw information on line about USDA Rural Development housing programs. She made a call that changed their lives. As it turned out, the house that they eventually found and qualified for was part of a “green home” renovation in conjunction with other local agencies. The family was able to purchase their home with a loan direct from Rural Development, give their four children a stable home and neighborhood, and the home itself has proven to be so efficient that they are saving monthly on their utility bills.

The family received homebuyer education classes and credit counseling as part of the programs they participated in. The mother said “We are lucky to have found out about you! We have nothing but high praise for the process. Thank you for your dedication to helping families like ours purchase a home.” Read more »