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The Competition Gets Prickly as Judges Head to Minnesota

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

I can’t tell you if there are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, but I can tell you that there is one creative group of students the South Education Center Alternative (SECA) in Richfield, Minn. Richfield was the next stop in the First Lady’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition judging round. We were eagerly anticipating the visit to SECA because their entry in the whole grains category, Porcupine Sliders, definitely caught our attention with their prickly title.

SECA students Adilene, Chris, Dominic, and Dolores look like they are paving a culinary future for themselves with this hit recipe.  Along with chef Todd Bolten, teacher Theresa Guthrie, and public health nurse Mary Lair, the students developed the Porcupine Sliders recipe, one of 15 semi-finalists. Read more »

USDA and The Recovery Act Funds a Michigan Treatment Facility

Recently I attended a presentation and groundbreaking near Midland, Michigan, for a unique USDA Rural Development Community Facilities project:  A residential treatment center for the Ten Sixteen Recovery Network.

This is an unusual type of project for our agency.  Our community facility projects tend to involve a police car, fire truck or township hall.  Several people at the event (including news reporters) remarked on this.  I pointed out that while a project of this kind may be uncommon, there is nothing usual about it being considered.  Fire trucks and police cars tend to dominate community facilities because these tend to be the applications we receive. Read more »

Cows and Hops Could Prove to be a Good Combination

Hops growing on trellises in Corvallis, Oregon.

Hops growing on trellises in Corvallis, Oregon.

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 the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Read more »

USDA-Funded Water Quality Project Leads to Industry Expansion and Creation of Almost 400 New Jobs

It is the goal of every USDA Rural Development program to help improve the economy and the quality of life in rural communities across this country – but with some projects, the impact of agency investment is not always obvious in the early stages. Once in a while, however; you have one that creates an economic domino effect with a return on investment that is nearly immediate.

A great example of such a project is taking place in Mercer County, Kentucky, and involves the expansion and upgrade of the Harrodsburg Water Treatment Plant.  In 2010, Rural Development provided loan and grant funds to increase the plant’s capacity from four to six million gallons per day (MGD). Read more »

Aloha! Mount Lebanon Elementary School

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

You don’t have to go to Hawaii to get a taste of the islands. In fact the students at Mount Lebanon Elementary School in Pendleton, S.C. were cooking up what can only be described as a paradise for the taste buds  in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. Our judges made their way down to Pendleton as the competition continued its tour across the country to find the top recipe that schools can easily incorporate into National School Lunch Program menus.

Mount Lebanon’s recipe, called Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap (entered in the ‘Dark Green and Orange Vegetables’ category), was among the 15 recipes chosen out of the 340 entries submitted, five were selected in each of three categories: whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and dry beans and peas. Read more »

NEI Event in Delaware Highlights Regional Businesses, Exports

Last week, I was honored to travel home to Delaware to address the importance of the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI). As a proud former agriculture secretary for this great state, I know well that for thousands of Delawareans, agriculture is not only a livelihood, but also a way of life.

Delaware boasts nearly 2,500 farms covering almost a half-million acres of land. In 2009 those farms generated more than $1 billion in cash receipts and exported $240 million in agricultural goods. Approximately half of the export value came from poultry, making Delaware the United States’ 12th-largest poultry exporter. Read more »