Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

An 87 Year-Old Missouri Resident Enjoys her First Home-Thanks to USDA Support

State Director Dunning (4th from right), Ms. Fincher and her family in her new home.

Last year for Homeownership Month we visited Rita Fincher to whom we had made a Single Family Housing Direct loan to help purchase a home.  I was so impressed with her story last year that I decided I wanted to go back and visit her to see “what difference a year had made in her life with her new home.”  Here is her story. Read more »

Congressman Braley and Deputy Under Secretary O’Brien Host Farm, Food and Jobs Bill Listening Session in Northeast Iowa

Earlier this week Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien and Congressman Bruce Braley met with nearly 30 northeast Iowa producers and residents to discuss the important role rural economic development provisions have in the upcoming discussions of the next farm, food and jobs bill.

Iowa producers and residents discuss the impact the next farm, food and jobs bill can have on rural economies with Congressman Braley (in yellow shirt at head of table) and Deputy Under Secretary O’Brien (next to flag).

Iowa producers and residents discuss the impact the next farm, food and jobs bill can have on rural economies with Congressman Braley (in yellow shirt at head of table) and Deputy Under Secretary O’Brien (next to flag).

O’Brien said a goal with the next farm bill is to make it easier for people to access USDA support, ensuring that emerging rural businesses have the capital they need to grow and create jobs, and investing in communities pursuing regional growth. Read more »

East River Electric Cooperative Highlights USDA Rural Development funded Business

It was lights, camera and action as a videographer for the National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) traveled across eastern South Dakota.  Hosted by the Rural Electric Economic Development, Inc. (REED) Fund, video interviews documented the businesses and partners that make REED’s revolving loan fund such a success.

A stop on the tour included Dakota Style, a home grown business located by Clark, SD.  Dakota Style started making their own potato chips 25 years ago and has expanded into sunflower seeds and salad toppers.  When progress led to a large national contract, they needed space for packaging equipment and storage for shipment. Read more »

Priceless and Pricey: The Cost of Raising a Child

As you may know, USDA recently issued its Expenditures on Children by Families, 2011 report, which analyzes the costs of raising a child born in 2011. USDA has been tracking the cost of raising a child annually since 1960.  Expenses are examined by the age of the child, household income, budgetary component, and region of the country.

Middle income parents of a child born in 2011 can expect to spend about $234,900 ($295,560 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child over the next 17 years. Let’s look at the breakdown: Read more »

What Can the Food Environment Atlas Tell You?

Understanding a community’s food environment is key to understanding a community’s identity.  But what can a “food environment” tell us?

A community’s food environment is a technical term for assessing information about the who, what, where, and how of food availability in a given community: Who are the people in the community?

What kinds of food outlets are available in their area? How accessible are grocery stores and supermarkets? What are some of the health statistics? Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Reducing Pain at the Pump for Americans

As Americans joined family and friends to celebrate America’s independence, tens of millions took to our highways and Interstates – and I know that gas prices were on the minds of many.

President Obama understands the impact gas prices can have for families, and he is committed to an “all of the above” energy approach to solving our nation’s energy challenges – including reducing pain at the pump.

That includes developing the homegrown biofuels that save Americans money at the gas station and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Read more »