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Take Karen with You! Food Safety Tips Now Available 24/7 on Your Smartphone

USDA’s virtual food safety representative, Ask Karen, is now available in mobile format. That

As Under Secretary for Food Safety, one of my top priorities has been improving communications tools to get food safety information to more people, much faster. Today, it has been my pleasure to announce a new tool that has the potential to really reduce the number of foodborne illnesses, especially as we approach the summer grilling season. Read more »

NESC Breaks Ground on Recovery Act Broadband Project

Wednesday, April, 20, 2011 marked an important day for northeastern Minnesotans. Ground was broken to mark the beginning of a three-year project to supply high-speed broadband access across eight counties and surrounding of the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. The project was funded with $43.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in conjunction with USDA Rural Development. The Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) in Mt. Iron, Minn. will oversee the project.

Senator Al Franken attended the groundbreaking and told the gathered media that creating rural broadband opportunities was a big part of the Recovery Act. Read more »

A Milestone Year for USDA’s Economic Research Service

This year, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) celebrates its 50th anniversary. ERS was established on April 3, 1961 during the Kennedy Administration, when USDA combined the Department’s economic research functions into one agency. The functions of our predecessor agency, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (BAE, dating from 1922), had been dispersed in 1953 to other USDA offices, and many former BAE economists found a home in the new ERS.

This week, ERS is marking the occasion with a day-long symposium in USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium, featuring speakers from government and the research community who will focus on the agency’s contributions to public policy and the social sciences. USDA employees and the public are invited to the symposium. Read more »

Recipes for Healthy Kids Judging Teams Begin School Visits

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

We’re entering the home stretch in the First Lady’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. Judges will be fanning out to schools across the country to watch them prepare the delicious recipes that have made it to the semi-finals. My colleague, Audrey Rowe, recently lead a team of judges to Harold S. Winograd School in Greeley, Colo., to kick off this phase of the competition, which is part of the First Lady’s effort to partner chefs with schools through her Let’s Move! initiative. Read more »

Recovery Act-Funded Senior Care Center Headlines Rural Development Earth Day Projects in Minnesota

Pioneer Care has provided quality senior care services in Fergus Falls, Minn. since 1928. That tradition will continue thanks to a new 105-bed facility that celebrated its grand opening on April 15 as part of USDA Rural Development’s annual Earth Day celebration.

Rural Development financed the construction of the new 105-bed facility with over $21 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through its direct and guaranteed community facilities loan program. Over $2 million was raised through a private capital campaign. Read more »

USDA Rural Development and the Small Business Administration-Working Together to Create Jobs in Nebraska

On April 14th U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) National Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, visited with Nebraska lenders during a joint USDA Rural Development and SBA annual lenders training event in Omaha, Nebraska.   Ms. Johns praised the two agencies for working together to provide lender training.  Ms. Johns said conventional lenders coupled with SBA and Rural Development loans help save and create jobs for Americans.

The April 14th lenders meeting was the second in a series of five being conducted throughout  Nebraska.   The three remaining meetings will be held in North Platte, Grand Island, and Columbus.  Participating with Ms. Johns in the lender training were Robin Templeton, Business Program Director for USDA Rural Development in Nebraska, and Leon Milobar, District Director of the SBA’s Nebraska District Office.

To find out more about USDA Rural Development Business Loan Guarantee opportunities click here.