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Deputy Secretary Merrigan to Local Virginia Business Leaders: We are Listening

Agriculture Deputy Kathleen Merrigan meets with local Virginia business leaders to discuss growth and job creation in Richmond, VA, on Monday, July 22, 2011.

Agriculture Deputy Kathleen Merrigan meets with local Virginia business leaders to discuss growth and job creation in Richmond, VA, on Monday, July 22, 2011.

President Obama has stressed time and again that the best ideas don’t always come from Washington. It is with that spirit that I met this week with a group of agricultural entrepreneurs in Richmond, Virginia to hear their thoughts on the best ways for the federal government to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Read more »

People’s Garden Provides a Piece of Home to U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan

USDA employees at the U.S. Embassy in Kaubl, Afghanistan Kathy Gunderman and Mike Ward tend to a lot in the People’s Garden, which was established on the embassy grounds earlier this year.

USDA employees at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan Kathy Gunderman and Mike Ward tend to a lot in the People’s Garden, which was established on the embassy grounds earlier this year.

After a long workday, there is nothing Kathy Gunderman enjoys more than relaxing and tending to her garden, where brightly colored flowers and green, leafy lettuce is thriving under the hot summer sun. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Brings a New Home to One Rural Mississippian

(Front row, from right to left) State Director George, Ms. Spearman, Ms. Monger, and Grenada Mayor Collins stand in front of Ms. Monger’s new home in Grenada.

(Front row, from right to left) State Director George, Ms. Spearman, Ms. Monger, and Grenada Mayor Collins stand in front of Ms. Monger’s new home in Grenada.

Homeownership Month was truly meaningful to one senior citizen in Grenada, Mississippi who received a new home, thanks to USDA Rural Development’s home loan program and to the pro-activity of State Director Trina George.

Letha Monger lived with her daughter, Betty Spearman, in a small house that built over 50 years ago by her grandfather. Ms. Monger’s home was falling apart, heavily infested with mold and soot, and had become a hazard.

Read more »

Arkansas Home Saved thanks to NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program

The stream bank next to Deanna Young’s home after stabilization.

The stream bank next to Deanna Young’s home after stabilization.

Although raging waters had subsided at Deanna Young’s home in Ponca, Ark., a flood of emotions hit her when she found out USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) would pay 100 percent of the cost of protecting her home from falling into Adds Creek. Read more »

In Mississippi, USDA Rural Development Brings Jobs to a Five-County Area

One of Mississippi’s largest USDA Rural Development awards was recently celebrated in Lowndes County, where local leaders expect the improvements made by this award to lead to hundreds of jobs.

USDA Rural Development State Director Trina George was joined by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and numerous state and local officials to commemorate a USDA Rural Development loan of $13 million to the Columbus-Lowndes County Development Link, which will help the entity expand the regional industrial park with a special focus on attracting aerospace industries. This award compliments a previous USDA Rural Development loan-grant combination of $17.5 million awarded last year to expand and improve the water and sewer infrastructure of the industrial park. Read more »

Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan Teams Up with USDA’s Certified Beef Program

Nolan Ryan is one of the greatest icons in Major League Baseball history – a first-ballot Hall of Fame member and team president of the Texas Rangers. But Ryan is special in another way: he heads the Nolan Ryan Guaranteed Tender Beef Program, one of just a few marketing programs verified by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

AMS relies on university-researched and industry-recognized standards to determine which marketing claims it chooses to verify, and Ryan’s beef has been called “safe at home.” Companies approach AMS to verify marketing claims, such as “guaranteed tender,” to assure their customers that the products are exactly what they claim when listed on packaging. This is an important service to consumers who desire a certain quality of beef and want government, third-party assurance that their beef purchases meet exacting requirements. Read more »