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Thanks to USDA Support, Recovery Act Support, a Georgia Hospital Receives a New Digital Mammography System

Recently, Evans Memorial Hospital in Claxton, Georgia, received $200,000 in Recovery Act loan and grant funds to purchase a state-of-the-art digital mammography system. “This equipment will provide better imaging and allow for more accurate diagnostics,” said Donnie Thomas, acting Georgia Rural Development state director. “Providing reliable health care is a priority in rural areas.”

Funds were provided through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facility Programs, which are designed to improve the quality of life in rural communities. The $100,000 loan is repayable at 4 percent over 10 years. “This equipment will save lives,” Thomas said. “Keeping medical equipment current can be a big expense, but the benefit far outweighs the cost.” Read more »

USDA Rural Development Telehealth Funding Serves a Sparsely-Populated Four-State Area

In rural America, especially in frontier regions of South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska the shortage of health care professionals tends to be pronounced. For example, 55 of South Dakota’s 66 counties, or 83 percent of all counties, are designated Primary Care Health Professional Shortage areas. There are even greater disparities in South Dakota rural areas regarding access to specialists. USDA Rural Development grants to Avera Regional Health System have been instrumental in developing and expanding telehealth services cost effectively to the smallest and most underserved hospitals and communities. Read more »

“Green” Volunteer Wins National Award

Earth Team Volunteer Robert Mosier and his friend Marcella Thomas stand in front of a trailer full of refurbished, soon-to-be-donated bicycles with Jack the dog.  NRCS recognizes Robert as its top volunteer for 2011.

Earth Team Volunteer Robert Mosier and his friend Marcella Thomas stand in front of a trailer full of refurbished, soon-to-be-donated bicycles with Jack the dog. NRCS recognizes Robert as its top volunteer for 2011.

When you’re Robert Mosier, it’s easy to be green. He’s a native of Greensburg, Kansas; the community totally leveled in 2007 by a devastating tornado and rebuilt “green” by USDA and other federal agencies, state and local entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals like Mosier. Read more »

A School and Community with Distinction

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

When First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the School Nutrition Association last year to promote her recently launched Let’s Move! Initiative, she mentioned Anji Baumann by name.  Why?  Anji was the first Food Service Director in the nation whose school, Gooding Elementary School, had achieved the HealthierUS School Challenge Gold of Distinction Award. Read more »

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Announces Value Added Producer Grant Program Changes to Assist Farmers as They Add Value to Products

I recently began the Know your Farmer, Know Your Food College tour, and one of the locations I visited was a farmer’s market in North Carolina. Many of the regionally and locally produced products we see at farmer’s markets have a helping hand from USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant program.

Sometimes it’s tough for a small or beginning rural business or cooperative to come up with the money for a feasibility study, marketing or packaging.  That’s where USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant program can help. Read more »

Communities Across the Nation Work Tirelessly to End Hunger. Join the Movement!

USDA took one step closer to ending hunger in America today with the announcement of 14 Hunger-Free Communities Grantees.   The important goal to end hunger and improve domestic nutrition is a top priority for the Obama administration, and an aspiration our innumerable partners have rallied around.

Those commitments from non-profit and faith-based organizations, state and local governments, private industry, and from the public to end hunger in their communities is nothing short of amazing. It’s a movement that has gained strength, in part because it’s an achievable goal.  It’s also becoming clear that if we work together to ensure our nation’s hungry people have access to nutritious foods, much headway can be made on the front. Read more »