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Hancock County, Kentucky Residents Rejoice at USDA’s Investment in New Library

In less than a year, residents in the city of Hawesville and Hancock County, Kentucky., will have a brand new library that will be twice as large as the existing one. The new 10,000 square foot facility will provide additional space for computers with Internet access, public meeting rooms and educational classes. Perhaps even more important, patrons will no longer have to share parking with the courthouse and a local funeral home that are both located in the same downtown area.

Dozens of residents turned out on April 28 to break ground at the construction site and they were joined by local, state and federal officials to mark the occasion. USDA Rural Development State Director Tom Fern announced funding support to David Hobbs, president of the Hancock County Library Board, in the amount of $2.3 million. Read more »

Missouri USDA Rural Development Partners with Schools and Communities For Earth Day Activities

What better way to celebrate Earth Day last month  than to recognize projects that are environmentally friendly and to educate our elementary school youths.  That’s exactly what we did in northwest Missouri. The Missouri Rural Development (RD) staff partnered with the Senior Citizens Nursing Home District of Ray County and the Richmond Sunrise Elementary School for one celebration and with the City of Carrollton and Carrollton Elementary School for the second celebration.

In Richmond, Debra Berry, USDA Rural Development Area Specialist, talked with second graders in the Sunrise Elementary School about energy conservation and recycling and a poster contest was held for the students to demonstrate their creativity about the environment.  The gym full of students, teachers and the principal, showed great knowledge and excitement about caring for the environment.  When the top three poster winners were announced smiles lit up all the faces.  One of the student winners whose father was present to see the award had to call her mother at work – what excitement! Read more »

In Recipe Competition, Ohio School Puts a Healthy Twist on a Tasty Dish

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

Who says a delicious classic can’t also make a healthful lunch?  On Tuesday, students at Van Buren Middle School in Kettering, Ohio served judges in the First Lady’s Recipes for Healthy Kids competition their Chicken Alfredo with a Twist, an updated take on Fettucine Alfredo that leaves out extra fat and boosts nutrition with whole grain pasta.  Van Buren students Graham, Jonathan, Shawnrica and Savannah worked with chef Rachel Tilford and Kettering school professionals to create a great dish – one of 15 semi-finalist recipes nationwide in the R4HKwhole grain category.

The team went through a serious development process, beginning in December 2010 by developing nine different recipes.  They selected their five favorites to be prepared and served to approximately 500 students during a taste test at Van Buren Middle School. Students were asked to vote for their favorite two recipes.   The team submitted the top two recipes to the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition – and this twisty pasta dish sprung them to the semifinal round. Read more »

Tenth-Generation South Carolina Farm Family Raise Organic Livestock

Paxton Pegues and his sixteen-year old daughter, Rachel, lay out temporary fencing to facilitate their rotational grazing plan. This plan allows vegetation in previously grazed pastures to regenerate, encourages an even distribution of grazing throughout the field and allows rest periods in between rotations to  improve the health of the grass.

Paxton Pegues and his sixteen-year old daughter, Rachel, lay out temporary fencing to facilitate their rotational grazing plan. This plan allows vegetation in previously grazed pastures to regenerate, encourages an even distribution of grazing throughout the field and allows rest periods in between rotations to improve the health of the grass.

On a spring day in Chesterfield, South Carolina, a family works in unison to manage cattle, sheep and goats. This is a daily routine and a way of life for Paxton Pegues, his wife Olivia, and their four children Rachel, Marcellus, Spencer, and Lanier. Read more »

Minnesota City Uses USDA Recovery Act Funds to Upgrade Water and Wastewater Systems

Travelers on Interstate 94 in central Minnesota are greeted by a smiling face whenever they pass through the city of Freeport. For years, the city has been known for the smiley face painted on its water tower. Unfortunately, due to the tower’s age, it no longer meets the needs of the community of 450 people.

Using loan and grant funds from USDA Rural Development, Freeport will build a new water tower, replace water mains, make water main looping improvements and replace old sewer lines. The loan portion of the Rural Development funds come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama in February of 2009. Read more »

Down on the Farm with Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Agriculture

On Monday, I had the honor of hosting Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Agriculture Bayu Krisnamurthi at my 1,700-acre corn, soybean, and wheat farm in Smyrna, Delaware. This opportunity is a direct result of my visit last month to Jakarta where I led 18 U.S. companies on an Agribusiness Trade and Investment Mission. When Vice Minister Bayu told me he would be traveling to the United States this month, I invited him to visit my farm. He warmly accepted my invitation.

The United States and Indonesia are strong allies and trade between us continues to grow. In November 2010, President Obama and President Yudhoyono formally launched the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership. Through this partnership, both of our countries are looking to expand trade and investment and commercial relationships, creating tremendous possibilities for economic development and cooperation. Read more »