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USDA Utilities Administrator Announces Support to Improve Electric Service and Provide Smart Grid Technology to Thousands of Colorado Residents

Jonathan Adelstein, USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Administrator joined Colorado Rural Development Director Jim Isgar and representatives from Colorado’s congressional delegation for a ceremonial presentation at Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, Inc. in Windsor, Colorado.

The entity was recently awarded a $43 million Rural Electric Loan to connect 2,069 new consumers while building 54 miles of new distribution line.  The funding is a win-win project for the co-op, the consumers are helped by offering a better and more reliable product and the co-op will be able to increase efficiency.  The loan will allow the entity to make improvements to 186 miles of distribution lines.   The project also includes $6.7 million in smart grid technologies, which will be used for technology, such as advanced metering and can provide data to consumers and utilities to better manage power use and costs. Read more »

Groundbreaking Ceremony for a Native Regional Health Center in Alaska-Funded through USDA and the Recovery Act

Dignitaries from the Southcentral Foundation were joined by Alaska local and state officials, and Senator Mark Begich last week for a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction of a new primary health clinic to serve Alaska Natives in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and surrounding areas.  When completed, Alaska Natives living along the Parks and Glenn Highways will no longer have to make long drives to Anchorage to receive routine medical care.

The project was made possible through a direct loan and a guaranteed loan from USDA Rural Development and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).  Besides providing construction jobs, the facility, when completed, will employ about 200 professionals. Services provided include primary medical care, dental, behavioral health, optometry, health education, wellness and traditional medicine. Read more »

Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat

“So, how fortunate are you?  Are you free?  Can you eat?”
-Excerpt from JCPA Hunger Seder Haggadah

On Thursday, April 14th, US Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon and several representatives from the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships joined Members of Congress and members of the anti-hunger community to observe an annual “Hunger” Passover Seder in an intimate gathering at the Capitol Visitors Center. Sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), this third annual Hunger Seder,  and over 40 others like it across 22 states, told the traditional story of oppression, struggle and ultimate liberation, but with a unique voice and group of participants.  Similar Hunger Seders were held across the country, coordinated by JCPA.  Collectively, the group reflected on an oppression still present in our communities today– that of hunger and poverty — and asked each person to renew their dedication to justice and pledge their efforts toward nourishing and protecting vulnerable people in our communities. Read more »

US Forest Service Chief Celebrates Earth Day with D.C. Elementary Students

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell  participates in Earth Day festivities at Barnard Elementary School  that included building raised bed gardens, planting vegetables and showcasing the school’s outdoor classroom in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell participates in Earth Day festivities at Barnard Elementary School that included building raised bed gardens, planting vegetables and showcasing the school’s outdoor classroom in Washington, D.C.

On Friday. U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell presented a $6,000 check to Barnard Elementary School during Earth Day festivities that included building raised bed gardens, planting vegetables and showcasing the school’s outdoor classroom in Washington, D.C. “Earth Day reminds us that we need kids who understand the importance of the environment. Kids who get outdoors to have fun and explore nature,” Chief Tidwell said to more than 60 people gathered for the festivities. “We need schools that help connect kids to nature. Barnard Elementary School is that kind of school.” Read more »

Conservation Partners Celebrate Earth Day and the People’s Garden Initiative

At USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), we subscribe to the “Every day is Earth Day” way of thinking. Celebrating Earth Day provides us with the opportunity to underscore the significance of the work being done every day by our agency, through conservation planning and producer assistance, to benefit the soil, water, air, plants and wildlife for productive lands and healthy ecosystems.

This year, on a glorious spring day, NRCS Florida invited our conservation partners, local school children and the public to join us in celebrating Earth Day. Partner organizations, including the Hernando County Friends of Native Plants Society, NRCS Mobile Irrigation Lab, Audubon Society, the Florida Division of Forestry and many others, set up exhibits with various conservation themes at the NRCS Brooksville Plant Materials Center (PMC). Our soils division was also on hand to demonstrate the NRCS Web Soil Survey. Read more »

Agriculture Secretary Highlights Renewable Energy Opportunities, Biofuels Investment, During an Energy Roundtable in Minnesota

The use of biofuels needs to expand throughout all of the United States. That’s what Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told an audience of about 50 producers, stakeholders and agency leaders during a renewable energy roundtable discussion at CHS Inc. in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. on Wednesday. Vilsack was joined by Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the event.

Vilsack shared how USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. He also highlighted how a new provision in the program finances the installation of flex fuel pumps at convenience stores and fuel filling facilities throughout rural America. Read more »