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Recovery Act-Funded Senior Care Center Headlines Rural Development Earth Day Projects in Minnesota

Pioneer Care has provided quality senior care services in Fergus Falls, Minn. since 1928. That tradition will continue thanks to a new 105-bed facility that celebrated its grand opening on April 15 as part of USDA Rural Development’s annual Earth Day celebration.

Rural Development financed the construction of the new 105-bed facility with over $21 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through its direct and guaranteed community facilities loan program. Over $2 million was raised through a private capital campaign. Read more »

USDA Rural Development and the Small Business Administration-Working Together to Create Jobs in Nebraska

On April 14th U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) National Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, visited with Nebraska lenders during a joint USDA Rural Development and SBA annual lenders training event in Omaha, Nebraska.   Ms. Johns praised the two agencies for working together to provide lender training.  Ms. Johns said conventional lenders coupled with SBA and Rural Development loans help save and create jobs for Americans.

The April 14th lenders meeting was the second in a series of five being conducted throughout  Nebraska.   The three remaining meetings will be held in North Platte, Grand Island, and Columbus.  Participating with Ms. Johns in the lender training were Robin Templeton, Business Program Director for USDA Rural Development in Nebraska, and Leon Milobar, District Director of the SBA’s Nebraska District Office.

To find out more about USDA Rural Development Business Loan Guarantee opportunities click here.

Interactive Web Tool Maps Food Deserts, Provides Key Data

Map in the ERS Food Desert Locator showing the location of food deserts in downtown St. Louis, with  popup window displaying detailed information for a specific tract

Map in the ERS Food Desert Locator showing the location of food deserts in downtown St. Louis, with popup window displaying detailed information for a specific tract

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Ensuring that Americans eat well and lead healthy lives is among our greatest goals at USDA.  First Lady Michelle Obama, of course, has taken an important role on this front – leading a national conversation and administration-wide effort.  As part of the Lets Move! initiative USDA is taking on the challenge of food deserts.  These nutritional wastelands exist across America in both urban and rural communities where parents and children simply do not have access to a supermarket. Read more »

Study Shows Mangroves are a Major Player in Climate Change

The hidden beauty of a mangrove forest.

The hidden beauty of a mangrove forest.

Mangroves have declined by nearly half in the last 50 years. This is disconcerting to scientists because the hardy brackish tidal tree in an important bulkhead against climate change, according to findings is a recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Tours Tornado Damage in Mississippi, Says USDA Rural Development Programs Can Help in Recovery Efforts

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Obama Administration Cabinet members Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, as well as Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, and other state and local officials to tour areas in Alabama and Mississippi affected by last week’s tornadoes.

After visiting devastated sites in Birmingham and nearby areas, the group crossed over to Mississippi, where they surveyed the damage done to Smithville, a town of approximately 1000 that was almost literally wiped off the map. Read more »

In Mississippi, Merrigan Plants Seeds That Will Grow Young Minds

In a two-day span, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan may have changed the lives of up to 2,000 young Mississippians.

Recently, Deputy Secretary Merrigan brought an outstanding presentation on the future of agriculture to the campuses of Mississippi’s two land grant universities: Mississippi State University in Starkville; and Alcorn State University in Lorman. Each presentation was attended by hundreds of people — mostly students who left enlightened about the world that waited for them in the wide arena of agriculture. Read more »