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USDA Breaks Ground on a Hospital and Clinic Project to Improve Health Services and Create Jobs in a Minnesota Community

Tammye Trevino, the Administrator of USDA Rural Development’s Housing and Community Facilities programs, participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a renovation and expansion project for Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, Minn. on May 11.

The $21 million expansion will result in improved healthcare services for the entire region. Perhaps just as importantly, the project will provide an economic boost through job creation and economic development opportunities created by modern healthcare facilities. Read more »

American Chestnut Trees Return to the Hoosier National Forest

Bedford, Ind., May 5, 2011 -- A group of Hoosier National Forest employees plant chestnut trees in a timber sale area of the Hoosier to return the American chestnut to its native range.Bedford, Ind., May 5, 2011 -- A group of Hoosier National Forest employees plant chestnut trees in a timber sale area of the Hoosier to return the American chestnut to its native range.

Bedford, Ind., May 5, 2011 -- A group of Hoosier National Forest employees plant chestnut trees in a timber sale area of the Hoosier to return the American chestnut to its native range (Photo Credit: US Forest Service).

Once a prominent phenomenon in southern Indiana, Bedford just experienced the first re-planting of American chestnut trees on the Hoosier National Forest in partnership with Purdue University and the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. Read more »

USDA, Helping to Increasing the Number of Flex Fuel Pumps in Nebraska

Flexible fuel pump

Flexible fuel pump

USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul joined the Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Energy Office on May 6, 2011 in York, Nebraska at the Aurora Cooperative for a media conference to discuss the need for flexible fuel pumps.  Also, the importance of the use of ethanol blended gasoline in Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) was discussed with gasoline retailers. The Obama Administration has set a goal of establishing 10,000 more flexible fuel pumps in the next five years along with a national security goal (RFS 2) of using 36 billion gallons of biofuel per year by 2022.  Local residents and fuel retailers pulled FFV cars up at the Coop’s flex fuel pumps to fill their tanks with the ethanol blended fuels gas. Read more »

USDA Participates in Meetings Intended to Assist Missouri Flood Victims

USDA staff in Missouri joined Governor Jay Nixon on May 10 and May 11, 2011, at five Flood Recovery Resource Meetings to an estimated 600 people in Southeast Missouri.  The meetings were held in the cities of Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, Charleston, New Madrid and Caruthersville which are located in the counties devastated by the recent flooding along the Black, Current, Mississippi and St. Francis Rivers, the cresting of Lakes Clearwater and Wappapello and the removal of the Birds Point Mississippi River Levee Plug.

The meetings were sponsored by Governor Nixon in an effort to respond to the needs of individuals, families and businesses affected by the flooding.  The National Guard and the Highway Patrol started each meeting began with an update on the flooding situation. Representatives of state and federal agencies were introduced and attendees encouraged visiting informational booths concerning specific issues and learning of resources available. Read more »

Happy Anniversaries: Conservation Reserve Program Turns 25, 100 Years Since President Reagan’s Birth

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which has protected the nation’s natural resources since 1985, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

CRP was signed into law by former President Ronald Reagan – who’s centennial is being celebrated this year – as part of the 1985 Farm Bill that was reported to be one of the most massive agricultural reform bills in the nation’s history. It was touted by then Agriculture Secretary John Block as the “agricultural recovery program to put this industry back in the business of prosperity in the years to come.” Read more »

AMS to Host an Introduction to PACA Webinar — In Spanish

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is excited about one of our upcoming webinars.  To date, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs has delivered nearly ten free online webinars for fruit and vegetable growers, handlers, and distributors of all sized operations.  The webinars have been a big success, with an average of nearly 200 attendees benefiting from the extensive knowledge of AMS employees.  So what’s got us so excited this time?  On June 23, AMS will deliver our first ever Spanish language webinar.

The demographics of the U.S. agriculture industry are changing.  According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, there has been a 14 percent increase of farm operators reporting their ethnicity as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino origin.  This segment is the second highest of all ethnic groups operating in agriculture.  To meet the needs of our Spanish speaking customers in the U.S. and abroad, Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) employee Pat Romero will deliver “An Introduction to PACA – In Spanish.” Read more »