Calling all local officials and entrepreneurs! Imagine high-tech, well paying jobs coming to rural America. It’s not impossible and in fact it’s already happening. A recent webinar entitled “An American Economy Built to Last: Advanced Manufacturing in Rural America” and hosted by USDA’s Rural Development provided a tool kit for attracting Advanced Manufacturing operations to rural communities. Among the presenters, an industry representative described how the world’s largest semi-conductor chip-maker scouts locations in rural America to set up advanced manufacturing facilities and even shared a sort of “check list” that his company uses when evaluating a particular area. Officials from USDA Rural Development and the Department of Commerce itemized government programs and financing that can be leveraged to make one’s community more attractive, particularly to this type of investment. Read more »
The USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone began its spring 2012 tour this past Saturday at Baltimore’s B’More Healthy Expo. Staffed by five food safety experts, the Discovery Zone was arguably one of the top attractions at the expo, giving interactive tours and food safety prizes to at least 5,000 visitors in one day. FSIS’ Bridgette Keefe-Hodgson, who communicates through American Sign Language, captured the attention of deaf and hearing visitors alike with her presentations.
Bridgette estimates that about 15 deaf expo attendees stopped by the Discovery Zone, and each stuck around for quite some time to see what they could learn. They were thrilled that FSIS has a series of YouTube videos in ASL, called SignFSIS, on preventing food poisoning, and Bridgette wrote down the URL for her pet project so the videos could be found later. One happy customer told her, “Wow, it is truly fantastic to see a deaf employee working at the FSIS booth. For me, that makes it so much easier to ask food safety questions directly in ASL.” Read more »
In today’s housing market downturn, New Jersey and Arizona are fortunate to have been selected as two of the 19 states to participate in the USDA Guaranteed Single Family Housing Refinance Pilot Program. In New Jersey, many homeowners are struggling to make ends meet especially with high interest mortgage rates. This program, when implemented, can benefit as many as 3000 rural homeowners in the “Garden State.” A healthy and strong housing market is vital to sustaining New Jersey’s current economic recovery.
USDA Housing Administrator Tammye Treviño was in New Jersey earlier this month to facilitate a roundtable meeting on the rural refinance pilot program. Joining Administrator Treviño in these discussions were lenders, credit & housing counselors, Congressional staff, and Rural Development representatives. Read more »
The Buckeye Recreation Area on the Manti-La Sal National Forest in southwestern Colorado is a jewel in a spectacular setting. Ponderosa forests, a sparkling blue reservoir and towering peaks surround it.
Until 2010, it consisted of dilapidated facilities and barren shorelines with compacted soils. Off-highway vehicle trails crossed the entire area, and vehicles routinely traveled across the dam. Read more »
Miscanthus giganteus was a tall, bothersome grass a few years back, a good privacy plant, but to some, just a weed. It could grow about anywhere, reaching heights of 12-15 feet, and do it perennially for 20 years or more.
Some say Miscanthus giganteus had a bad reputation, but it doesn’t bother Terry Lowe anymore. He’s hoping to turn it into renewable energy while it grows on 31 acres of his 66-acre farm in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Read more »