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USDA Celebrates National Homeownership Month

Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager visits with prospective homeowner Linda Diaz at a self-help housing subdivision in Laurel, Delaware. USDA helps thousands of limited-income families each year as they purchase or repair homes.

Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager visits with prospective homeowner Linda Diaz at a self-help housing subdivision in Laurel, Delaware. USDA helps thousands of limited-income families each year as they purchase or repair homes.

Today, June 1, is the first day of National Homeownership Month, which is celebrated each June to highlight the important role housing plays in creating jobs, maintaining viable rural communities and contributing to the economy. Read more »

USDA – Helping Veterans Continue Their Public Service Careers

US Marines silhouetted against the sunset.  USDA’s partnership with Operation Warfighter is just part of our commitment to helping veterans like Staff Sergeant Justin Fichter transition into civilian careers after their military service. Photo credit: US Marine Corps

US Marines silhouetted against the sunset. USDA’s partnership with Operation Warfighter is just part of our commitment to helping veterans like Staff Sergeant Justin Fichter transition into civilian careers after their military service. Photo credit: US Marine Corps

After finishing their military careers, many veterans envision continuing their government careers at the Department of Defense (DOD) or another defense-related organization.  True heroes with a passion for serving their country, these veterans often feel these are the only places where they can continue their dedication to public service.  However, USDA is committed to showing veterans that they can continue to serve the public within our agency, supporting the agriculture industry and all of the people it touches. Read more »

Celebrating South Carolina Wetlands

Water quality in the Wateree River is protected and improved thanks to the restoration work done on nearly 2,000 acres in Kershaw County, SC.

Water quality in the Wateree River is protected and improved thanks to the restoration work done on nearly 2,000 acres in Kershaw County, SC.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in South Carolina recently celebrated National Wetlands Month with an event that recognized three private landowners whose properties are enrolled in the agency’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Read more »

Abandoned Mine Lands Restored to Improve Watershed Health in Ohio

Water quality is monitored by volunteers with the Monday Creek Restoration Project. MCRP photo.

Water quality is monitored by volunteers with the Monday Creek Restoration Project. MCRP photo.

For nearly a century, the aquatic life that once thrived in the Monday Creek Watershed has been virtually dead. The goal of this Recovery Act project, known as “Devastation to Destination,” is to construct a healthy functioning riparian corridor, restore water quality, and create an integrated land management strategy resulting in species diversity among existing aquatic and wildlife habitats. It is located in Perry County between the towns of New Straitsville and Shawnee, Ohio. Read more »

USDA Community Facilities Program Supports Job Growth Across America

Earlier today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a report highlighting the ways in which Community Facilities infrastructure investments in rural communities help create jobs and boost economic development, and Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager announced additional investments that will create jobs and promote economic growth across the nation.

The Community Facilities program supports job growth across the nation.  For example, recently, Under Secretary Tonsager had the opportunity to visit Greene County Medical Center (GCMC) in Jefferson, Iowa.  The 75-year-old hospital is planning a large expansion and renovation project that will create a state-of-the-art medical campus and USDA Rural Development will be involved in a big way. Read more »

USDA Works to Reopen Export Markets for Virginia and South Carolina Logs

When pest detections led China to suspend exports of logs from Virginia and South Carolina last spring, USDA began work to minimize the impact of this trade disruption on one of those states’ most important industries.

We began by negotiating with China to establish science-based standards to allow log exports to resume.  Our work culminated in a visit by Chinese officials to South Carolina and Virginia. The delegation’s visit took them to facilities where state and Federal officials carry out agricultural inspections and treatments, tours of port facilities, and demonstrations of land management practices at forests, nurseries, and logging operations across Virginia and South Carolina. Read more »