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Rural America Needs Our Health Care Law

Recent news tells us that the American economy is continuing to move in the right direction, creating private sector jobs for twelve months in a row.  The health care law signed by President Obama last year, the Affordable Care Act, has done its part to increase economic certainty in rural America by expanding health insurance options, strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, and providing tax relief to businesses. And although families across the nation are already seeing the benefits of this new law, this week some in Congress want to repeal the law. This would be a huge mistake for rural America. Read more »

We Did It! Residents of Rural America Access Broadband Services Thanks to the Recovery Act and USDA

This fall USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) successfully completed its final round of grant awards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).  In the last year and a half, we’ve done more to bridge the digital divide for rural Americans than many ever thought possible.  The Recovery Act has unleashed an historic level of investment in rural high speed telecommunications infrastructure that will create new jobs, new services and new opportunities across the countryside. Read more »

My Experience as an Intern with the SC NRCS Dillon Office

Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe the way I felt on the first day of my internship with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. There was so much to learn—program acronyms, database information, how to do a field check…But I was told by my co-workers that I would learn fast.

And two and a half months and one bottle of Tylenol later, I realized that they were right. I was catching on. Slowly. Read more »

Digging the “Real Dirt” at an Historic USDA Laboratory

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

1935:  It was the year when baseball legend Babe Ruth hung up his spikes, and New Deal programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps extended a helping hand to a nation devastated by the Dust Bowl and gripped by the Great Depression. Read more »

USDA Housing Administrator: Rural Housing Program is Solid

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 enabled USDA Rural Development to help more than 80,000 families in rural communities secure safe, decent, affordable homes.   In the depths of the recession in early 2009, new home construction and private sector mortgage lending virtually ground to a halt in rural America.

By more than doubling the number of families served during a difficult economic time, Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed program played a critical role in resuscitating the rural housing market.  All along, we continued to adhere to strong underwriting standards and strict lender oversight, and implemented a number of additional quality control procedures.  A preliminary Inspector General Report led to an article in the January 14, 2011 New York Times, which raised various questions.

We have great confidence in the soundness of our guaranteed portfolio, and see no indication that loans made under the Recovery Act will have any significant negative impact on the continued strength of our portfolio.  We wanted to take this opportunity to provide our perspective on some of the claims made in the article, and we have done so here.

Improvements in LGM Dairy Insurance

We here at USDA have been working on improving insurance coverage for America’s farmers and ranchers.  In particular, we have been working hard to improve insurance coverage for dairy producers.  In recent years, dairy farmers across the country faced a crisis and thousands considered bankruptcy.  One of the ways in which USDA has taken action is by improving the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle plan of insurance. Read more »