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Renewable Energy Flex Fuel Options Discussed in Missouri

To “flex” or not, that is a good question.  I own a flexible fuel vehicle and have for several years and as a Government Agency, Rural Development has government owned vehicles that accommodate flexible fuel.  As State Director, I travel throughout Missouri and even though I have the appropriate vehicle and even though there is an adequate supply of renewable fuels, there is an inadequate number of service stations that have flexible fuel pumps.  Compound this with the desire to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make our nation more environmentally clean, you can imagine my reaction when Rural Development announced a program as part of the solution to address these issues.

There was excitement in Jefferson City, Missouri’s State Capitol, when Judith Canales, Administrator for USDA Rural Development Rural Business-Cooperative Programs kicked off  Rural Development’s  Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) workshop on flex-fuel options.  Canales informed the 45 people in attendance that grants are available to provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible fuel pumps that will offer Americans more renewable energy options. Read more »

Deputy Secretary Outlines USDA BioPreferred Program During an Ohio Visit

USDA employees and members of the public in Columbus, Ohio had the chance to hear Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan speak recently at the Columbus Federal Building as part of her one-day tour of the Buckeye state.

Merrigan’s first stop in the morning was at the Hoover plant in Glenwillow where she announced the USDA BioPreferred certifications bestowed on eleven new bio-based product initiatives. The products, which range from hand soaps to engine oils, are composed of agricultural ingredients and are certified to meet the standards for biobased content set by USDA. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Announces Proposed Colorado Roadless Rule

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the publication and start of a 90-day comment period for the proposed Colorado Roadless Rule, developed collaboratively to address the needs of Colorado’s unique and precious roadless areas.

This proposed rule, in development since 2005, is the product of extensive public involvement that included more than 200,000 written comments and reflects local and national and concerns. Read more »

Chicago Hosts Kickoff for Minority Health Month

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

On April 4th I had the opportunity to join Illinois’ Senator Dick Durbin, the President and First Lady’s personal trainer and member of President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Cornell McClellan and staff from USDA, the Department of Health and Human Services, Chicago Public Schools and Healthy Schools Campaign to kick off Minority Health Month.

Since schools offer an opportunity—and obligation—to promote and model good nutrition and physical fitness, Chicago’s McAuliffe Elementary was selected as the setting for the event. Read more »

Deadline Approaches for Producers to Sign Up for the Conservation Reserve Program

Photo of a steam bank enrolled in CCRP in Crook County, Wyoming.

Photo of a steam bank enrolled in CCRP in Crook County, Wyoming.

Producers interested in offering land in an effort to protect millions of acres of topsoil from erosion and improve the nation’s natural resources, have until Friday, April 15, to do so. This is the second consecutive year that USDA has offered a general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Programs Making a Big Impact in Western Iowa

On Friday, April 8th I had the opportunity to see first-hand the many ways USDA Rural Development programs are improving the lives of rural Americans when I visited a variety of USDA-funded projects in Anita, Logan and Woodbine in western Iowa.

In Anita, I met Duane Murphy, the local fire chief and all-around community champion.  He told me how the grant we are giving his community to assist with the purchase of a new fire truck will help keep the local residents safe. He also mentioned how his department will now be better equipped to provide rescue services to travelers along Interstate 80 and visitors to Lake Anita State Park. Read more »