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Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority-The First Indian Company to use USDA Loan Processes-Upgrades Telephone Service for Members

USDA Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks recently awarded the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) Telephone Authority headquartered in Eagle Butte a $37.9 million USDA Telecommunication Infrastructure Loan to complete a total fiber to premises build out.

Attending the award ceremony was CRST Elders, Ione Lee and Delphine Red Fox.  Delphine Red Fox‘s husband Steve Red Fox spent over 30 years working in the rural telecommunications industry and a majority of his time was with the CRST Telephone Authority.  He was the first employee to retire from CRST Telephone Authority in 2005, a significant milestone for himself, his family and also for the company. Steve began his career in the 1960′s with aerial plant construction and then moved into the copper underground plant in the 1970′s as the company became a REA borrower. Read more »

Detroit’s Eastern Market: A Food Hub in a Food Desert

Shed Two at Detroit’s Eastern Market

Look up Wayne County, Michigan, home to Detroit, in USDA’s Food Environment Atlas and it is obvious that local residents have some significant challenges in accessing healthful food.  An alarmingly high number of households that lack a car in Wayne County are located further than one mile from the closest grocery store, meaning that many families struggle to get access to fresh and healthy food.  Indeed, the closure of two supermarkets in 2007 left Detroit as the largest city in the country without a single full-service supermarket within its boundaries. Read more »

A Kansas Community Replaces an Outdated Hospital with Help from USDA and the Recovery Act

Hillsboro, a rural Kansas community of just over 2,400 residents is nestled between the North Cottonwood and South Cottonwood Rivers in Marion County.  Community leaders recently celebrated a groundbreaking in the frozen soils of central Kansas as the first step in the construction of their new community hospital.

The new 27,750 square foot facility will replace a 50-year old structure to provide health care to Hillsboro residents and serve nearby smaller communities as well.  The new hospital is a partnership between the City of Hillsboro and HMC/CAH and was made possible by a USDA Rural Development Recovery Act Business and Industry Loan Guarantee in the amount of $9,250,000 to the Bank of Hays. Read more »

The DREAM Act for Our Rural Communities and Our Nation

Cross-posted from the White House Blog where you can also find posts from other top Administration Officials on the importance of the DREAM Act.

From 2000 to 2006, while I was Governor of Iowa, approximately 60 percent of the total population increase in the state was directly attributable to immigrants.  Our economy thrived.  The new population contributed to local economies, paid taxes, became valued and productive members of their communities and helped lead an economic revitalization in the state. Read more »

Oklahoma Food Co-op: From Buying Club to Food Hub

One afternoon in the fall of 2003, 36 consumers and several volunteers gathered in the basement of an Oklahoma City church to sort and purchase products from twenty local producers.  They generated $3,500 in sales, and the opening day of the Oklahoma Food Coop (OFC) was determined to have been a great success.

Today, seven years later, OFC has over 3,000 members and processes up to 700 orders monthly. The participating producers – all two hundred of them – generate about $70,000 in monthly sales from 4,000 locally produced products.  The organization manages storage space, a warehouse and owns several trucks. It has transformed from a small buying club to a formal food hub. Read more »

Florida Farmers Market Pilot Provides Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to SNAP and WIC Clients

SERO Regional Administrator Don Arnette assists SNAP client Maria Salgado with bagging the fresh fruits and vegetables she purchased at the Jackson Memorial Foundation Green Market, Miami, Fla., with her SNAP benefits.

SERO Regional Administrator Don Arnette assists SNAP client Maria Salgado with bagging the fresh fruits and vegetables she purchased at the Jackson Memorial Foundation Green Market, Miami, Fla., with her SNAP benefits.

I was recently able to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony with community partners and Florida state and city officials at the Jackson Memorial Foundation Green Market in honor of the farmers market now accepting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT cards and the Womens, Infants and Children (WIC) Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers, in Miami, Fla.  The Jackson Green Market is currently the only farmers market in Florida authorized to accept the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable WIC vouchers.  Shoppers were also able to use their SNAP EBT cards to purchase fresh produce at the discount of $5 off their total purchase compliments of a grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida. Read more »