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Missouri River’s Rise Has South Dakota Communities Sandbagging for Hope

USDA South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks took a tour of the flood control preparations underway in Pierre and Ft. Pierre, last Thursday.  A number of homes are threatened, including those financed by government agencies, including USDA.

Residents are preparing for the worst as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers  increase water flow from the Oahe Dam from 85,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) to 150,000 CFS.   Flooding is imminent in the communities because of rising water levels on the Missouri River. Read more »

National Summer Food Service Program Week: Food That’s in When School is Out!

We are excited to announce the first ever National Summer Food Service Program Week! Today marks day one of a week-long celebration to raise awareness and make sure that no child goes hungry this summer. You may have heard of National School Lunch and School Breakfast Weeks and wondered why we didn’t have a week dedicated to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Well, we wondered the same thing and we’re excited to start a new tradition this year!

The SFSP is an important part of our nation’s hunger safety-net. Unfortunately, more than 8 million households with children were food insecure at our last calculation in 2009 and we know that a child’s risk of going hungry goes up during the summer months. That’s where SFSP comes in. The SFSP is a federally funded program designed to feed kids and teens healthy meals during the summer. It operates through partnerships between the USDA, State Agencies, and local governments and organizations. The program helps to feed kids at sites all over the country from schools and recreation centers, to camps and community organizations. Read more »

Learn How You Can Fight VHS Fish Disease, Enter the USDA Fishing & Boating Photo Contest

If someone told you there were simple things you could do to keep fish from dying and protect our waters, you’d want to know more, right?

Well, if you’re a boater or angler in the Great Lakes region, there’s a lot you can do to stop the spread of a fish disease called viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS). VHS kills freshwater and marine fish, including some species of bass, trout and perch.

The good news is you can help fight the disease by remembering to clean boats and fishing equipment. It’s also important not to transfer bait, water and mud from one waterway to another. Read more »

Young Navajo Woman Gains Engineering Experience with NRCS

Utah State University Engineering Student Semira Crank spent her spring break surveying animal waste management systems on dairy farms near Logan, Utah, as a temporary student employee with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Utah State University Engineering Student Semira Crank spent her spring break surveying animal waste management systems on dairy farms near Logan, Utah, as a temporary student employee with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Semira Crank is proud to be part of a growing number of young Navajo women breaking barriers to become scientists and engineers. Her story began in the small southeastern Utah community of Montezuma Creek in what is referred to as the “Utah Strip” portion of the Navajo Nation Reservation. Read more »

USDA is Helping Oregonians Live the American Dream

“I will always be grateful for the experience and the opportunity USDA RD, with the Mutual Self Help Program, has made possible for me and my sweet grandchildren. It is a dream come true and a prayer answered.” —Regine Lovely, new Oregon  homeowner

“I will always be grateful for the experience and the opportunity USDA RD, with the Mutual Self Help Program, has made possible for me and my sweet grandchildren. It is a dream come true and a prayer answered.” —Regine Lovely, new Oregon homeowner

June is National Homeownership Month, and this year’s theme is “Rural Housing, Rural Jobs” to recognize the housing sector’s significant role in creating jobs, maintaining viable rural communities and contributing to the economy. Read more »

USDA’s Food for Progress Program Helps African Growth and Opportunity Act Countries Integrate into the Global Economy

A farmer field school in Sanoyea Town, Bong County, Liberia. Photo Credit: ACDI/VOCA.

A farmer field school in Sanoyea Town, Bong County, Liberia. Photo Credit: ACDI/VOCA.

Nations like Liberia have much to gain, as high-level officials from the United States and 37 Sub-Saharan African countries gather in Lusaka, Zambia, for the June 9-10 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum.  Not only is Liberia eligible for AGOA trade preferences, allowing it to export a host of agricultural products to the United States duty-free, but it could receive more than $87 million in U.S. assistance in fiscal year 2011 to strengthen economic growth, which includes its agricultural sector. U.S. trade capacity building and technical assistance places Liberia in a better position than most to take advantage of AGOA trade preferences. Read more »