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

South Dakota USDA Rural Development Honors Top Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program Lenders

South Dakota USDA Rural Development honored four top banks for their collaborative work in utilizing the USDA Business & Industry (B & I) Loan Guarantee program.

Elsie Meeks, South Dakota Rural Development State Director said, “Working with private lenders throughout the state enables USDA Rural Development to increase investment capital, and help communities and local organizations build a strong business infrastructure to nurture economic growth.”   In Fiscal Year 2012, South Dakota USDA Rural Development B & I Guaranteed Loan program made available $33.2 million in the state, leveraging $128 million and assisting nine businesses.  This economic support created or retained an estimated 109 jobs in the state.

Great Western Bank  of Rapid City, First Interstate Bank of Sturgis, BankWest of Pierre and First Interstate Bank of Wall, South Dakota were recently highlighted as top lenders through the B & I program. Read more »

USDA Announces Speakers for 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum – Feb. 21-22

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced speakers for the 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum, “Managing Risk in the 21st Century,” Feb. 21-22 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will present the keynote address, followed by guest speaker former Senator Thomas A. Daschle, currently a senior policy advisor with DLA Piper. USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will present the 2013 U.S. Economic Outlook for Agriculture. In addition, a distinguished panel of speakers for the Feb. 21 plenary session includes: Bryan T. Durkin, Chief Operating Officer, CME Group; David Baudler, President of Cargill AgHorizons; and Scott H. Irwin, Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing, University of Illinois. Mike Adams, AgriTalk Radio host, will moderate the panel.

The Forum’s dinner speaker on Feb. 21 will be Adam Sieminski, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), addressing the “U.S. Energy Market Outlook.” Read more »

Happy Birthday SuperTracker!

SuperTracker turned one on December 22, 2012. In one year over 1.6 million people have registered to use SuperTracker.

SuperTracker turned one on December 22, 2012. In one year over 1.6 million people have registered to use SuperTracker.

After an exciting and successful year reaching well over a million users, SuperTracker celebrates its first birthday! With growing public interest in nutrition and health, we found that SuperTracker is the online tool many people have been waiting for to help them adopt healthful eating habits; something that is top of mind this time of year SuperTracker is an easy-to-use, tool for tracking food intake, physical activity and weight – for free!!  If you have a 2013 New Year’s resolutions to eat better, lose weight, or exercise more, then you need to be using SuperTracker. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: The Importance of a Strong Safety Net

At the beginning of this New Year, we at USDA are redoubling our efforts to achieve an adequate, defensible safety net for producers, more economic opportunity through the biobased economy, safe and nutritious food for Americans, robust efforts to carry out research and greater conservation of our natural resources.

To further our efforts in these areas, I hope to work with Congress this year to secure passage of a comprehensive, multiyear Food, Farm and Jobs Bill.

One very important part of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is to provide a safety net for America’s producers, who face a great deal of uncertainty in their work – both from Mother Nature and market prices.  Historically, the Farm Bill authorizes USDA to provide disaster assistance for producers and step in with help when they face volatile markets. Read more »

Caddo Nation Helps Identify New Heritage Sites on Texas, Louisiana National Forests

Thinking outside the box proved to be a winning solution when the U.S. Forest Service and the Caddo Nation joined forces to investigate and identify archeological sites on national forests in Texas and Louisiana.

In 2009, Barbara Williams, heritage program manager for the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, faced the daunting task of uncovering evidence of historic and prehistoric artifacts buried in the loamy soil of the Davy Crockett National Forest and Sabine National Forest in the deep East Texas piney woods.

So the forest reached out to the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, whose historic homeland was in the forests of East Texas. The Tribe partners with the Southern Region for training as heritage paraprofessionals and employment on the region’s national forests. Read more »

Entrepreneurship Helps to Engage the Youth of Nebraska through the Building of a Straw Bale Business Incubator/Grocery Store

Students of the Cody-Kilgore schools and area residents are working to complete a straw-bale building, an environmentally-friendly design that uses straw as insulation. Start-up funding was provided through USDA Rural Development and matched with cash, material and sweat equity contributions. Photos courtesy of the Village of Cody.

Students of the Cody-Kilgore schools and area residents are working to complete a straw-bale building, an environmentally-friendly design that uses straw as insulation. Start-up funding was provided through USDA Rural Development and matched with cash, material and sweat equity contributions. Photos courtesy of the Village of Cody.

In Nebraska, keeping small rural communities alive and vital is a hard road.  Part of the puzzle is keeping the rural youth local and involved.  Who would think straw built construction could create the buy in needed to interest the youth?

The Village of Cody, home to 150 residents, is mostly farmers and ranchers.  Residents know that entrepreneurship is important in creating more businesses and gain jobs but how do you inspire the youth towards this concept? Read more »