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USDA helps a Community Health Center Improve Services in an Underserved Part of Rural Arizona

Dr. Randy Hancock, Director and CEO of the Black Canyon Community Health Center, Inc. (BCCHC) has spent the last ten years working in a cramped building in the small desert town of Black Canyon City, Arizona. His office has three desks crammed in—his, one for the other doctor and one for their Nurse Practitioner.

BCCHC is the only clinic around for miles and it works overtime to meet the basic health needs of the working class rural residents that make up the community. With an average household income nearly $20,000 below the rest of the state, most of the clinic’s clients are retired and on fixed income. “Some of our patients have to walk to the clinic,” said Dr. Hancock. “It’s really difficult if they need specialty tests or radiology and have to try to get to Phoenix.” Read more »

Oregon, Colorado Trail Projects Honored by Coalition for Recreation Trails

Members of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps lift heavy boulders as part of a project to turn user-created trails on Mount Yale in Colorado into properly maintained trails that do not hurt the environment. (U.S. Forest Service Photo)

Members of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps lift heavy boulders as part of a project to turn user-created trails on Mount Yale in Colorado into properly maintained trails that do not hurt the environment. (U.S. Forest Service Photo)

The Deschutes National Forest in Oregon and the Pike-San Isabel National Forests in Colorado were recently honored by the Coalition for Recreation Trails with the organization’s Achievement Award for trail projects that exemplify creative partnerships and leveraging funds. Read more »

Oregon Forest Becomes Setting for a Cooperative Thinning Venture

Industry, academic and representative of non-profits tour the Willamette National Forest east of Eugene, Ore. The U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with the North Santiam Watershed Council, is working with companies in the region to establish a special forest products industry to thin the stands and harvest products such as moss, boughs, posts and poles, logs and firewood. (OSU Photo)

Industry, academic and representative of non-profits tour the Willamette National Forest east of Eugene, Ore. The U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with the North Santiam Watershed Council, is working with companies in the region to establish a special forest products industry to thin the stands and harvest products such as moss, boughs, posts and poles, logs and firewood. (OSU Photo)

In Oregon, huge swaths of the Willamette National Forest, perhaps as much as 12,000 acres, has stands of trees less than 40 years old that have never been thinned. The firs are crowded together, making it hard for sunlight to reach them. Competition for resources has made them susceptible to insects, disease, blowdowns and snow breakage. Trees that should be 13 to 14 feet apart are suffocating just eight feet from their neighbors. Read more »

You’re Invited! Join Us for Virtual Office Hours on Rural Economic Issues and #AskUSDA

Rural communities are the backbone of our nation’s economy. This past year, food and agriculture exports from rural America reached their highest levels ever and the industry supported more than 1.15 million American jobs. America’s agricultural trade surplus also reached record levels. This is partly the result of a comprehensive rural strategy implemented to spur innovation, increase export levels, invest in clean energy, and expand opportunities for rural enterprises on and off the farm that create jobs. In the last few years, USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program and our Business and Industry Guarantee program has created jobs and has helped millions of rural Americans address essential challenges in health care, education, public service and public safety.  And now we want to hear YOUR voice.

On the heels of the 1 year anniversary of the White House Rural Council, and to celebrate National Homeownership Month, I will host the 3rd installment of Virtual Office Hours. The topic will be economic development in our nation’s rural communities, including the great strides that have been made in agricultural economy and the important role housing plays in creating jobs, maintaining viable rural communities, and contributing to the economy. Read more »

USDA Encourages Summer Travelers to Protect American Agriculture by Not Packing a Pest

Whether you’re studying abroad in Europe, traveling on business in Asia, or taking that dream vacation to Hawaii, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is urging summer travelers to join us in the fight against invasive pests by not packing a pest.

While agricultural products make tempting souvenirs, invasive pests can hitchhike on fruits, vegetables, meats, processed foods, plants, and handicraft items.  If these invasive pests were to become established in the United States, they could devastate urban and rural landscapes and cost billions of dollars in lost revenue and eradication efforts.  As a result, APHIS restricts or prohibits the entry of certain agricultural products from foreign countries and from Hawaii and U.S. territories. Read more »

Celebrating National Get Outdoors Day with the U.S. Forest Service

(From Left to Right) National Get Outdoors Day Colorado Coordinator Susan Alden-Weingardt, Smokey Bear, Mayor Michael Hancock, and Emcee, Coach Stacy Fowler celebrate National Get Outdoors Day Colorado 2012 on the main stage of the event.

(From Left to Right) National Get Outdoors Day Colorado Coordinator Susan Alden-Weingardt, Smokey Bear, Mayor Michael Hancock, and Emcee, Coach Stacy Fowler celebrate National Get Outdoors Day Colorado 2012 on the main stage of the event.

Thousands of people across the nation attended a variety of events on U.S. Forest Service lands as part of the 5th annual National Get Outdoors Day.

NationalGetOutdoorsDay.Org is a campaign that encourages Americans, especially young people, to seek out healthy, active outdoor lifestyles, connect with nature and embrace public lands. The event also supports President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! initiative. Read more »