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Building the Connection between Federal Programs and Job Creation in Rural America

In his State of the Union Address, the President announced a plan for building a strong, successful and lasting economy. He spoke in particular about the need to source jobs domestically in order to bring employment back to the United States and the need for a strong manufacturing base to build our economy upon. Here at the USDA, we are doing our part by supporting rural businesses, building modern, reliable community infrastructure, and working with farmers and ranchers to export products grown in America.

Earlier this week, I participated in a webinar about domestic sourcing and opportunities for partnership between the federal and private sectors back home to America. As the representative for all federal programs, I highlighted many partnering opportunities across agencies like the Small Business Administration and Economic Development Administration, and described in depth the opportunities Rural Development provides to rural residents and businesses. In particular, I spoke about our rural business programs, like the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program which in the last year have assisted over 50,000 small and mid-size rural businesses across the country in creating or saving roughly 266,000 jobs. Read more »

USDA Commemorates the “New Year of the Trees”

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman (left), next to the freshly planted Dawn Redwood for the Celebration of Tu B’Shevat “The New Year of the Trees” event; the 3rd Grade Class of the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capitol and other addressed the attendees at the District of Columbia western lawn next to the USDA Headquarters, Whitten Building at 14th Street and Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman (left), next to the freshly planted Dawn Redwood for the Celebration of Tu B’Shevat “The New Year of the Trees” event; the 3rd Grade Class of the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital and other addressed the attendees at the District of Columbia western lawn next to the USDA Headquarters, Whitten Building at 14th Street and Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

It is written in the Talmud – a central text of Judaism – that ‘just as my parents planted for me, so I will plant for my children.’ Here at USDA, we’re planting trees across the country and in Israel to bring the wide-ranging benefits of trees, both ecological and spiritual, to future generations.

Today, USDA Natural Resources and Environment Under Secretary Harris Sherman planted a tree next to the USDA’s Washington DC headquarters in commemoration of Tu B’Shevat, “The New Year of the Trees.” This event brought together the local Jewish community and government leaders alike to share their common bond of conserving our natural resources and leaving a healthier world for the next generation.  Read more »

MOGO: A Wisconsin County on the Move!

A Monroe County elementary school student displays nothing but smiles after participating in a MOGO taste test.

A Monroe County elementary school student displays nothing but smiles after participating in a MOGO taste test.

Community members and organizations of Monroe County in Wisconsin have teamed up to create Monroe On the GO (MOGO). MOGO is a coalition dedicated to increasing access to healthy, affordable foods, one of the pillars of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. As a Let’s Move Faith and Communities supporter, MOGO is a great example for how community partners are leading, organizing, and taking action to raise a healthier generation of kids. Read more »

2012 Ag Outlook Forum: Agricultural Financial Markets and Investment

USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Feb. 23-24, will present 25 breakout sessions, including Agricultural Financial Markets and Investment focusing on patterns of financial investment in U.S. agricultural assets, changes in the types of lenders serving the agriculture sector, and the economics of land prices. Session speakers will be John Blanchfield, Senior Vice President, Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking American Banker’s Association;  Dr. Brent Gloy, Associate Professor and Director of Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University; and John Hays, Senior Vice President–Policy Analysis and Development, Farm Credit Council. These are the topics they will address:    Read more »

Planting Seeds to Help the Specialty Crop Industry Grow

Blueberries blossom at Spiller Farm in Wells, Maine.  The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program will support blueberry and other specialty crop growers in California and the rest of the U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo by henskechristine.

Blueberries blossom at Spiller Farm in Wells, Maine. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program will support blueberry and other specialty crop growers in California and the rest of the U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo by henskechristine.

When it comes to supporting the American agricultural economy and its communities, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is all in. Here at AMS, we have several grant programs that producers and other organizations can utilize to help increase the competitiveness of their businesses. Read more »

Using a USDA Loan, a Dentist and Chiropractor Serve a Rural Minnesota Community

Dr. Julee Kingsley, dentist, practices out of a building in Elgin, Minn., financed with a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities loan. Dr. Kingsley grew up in Elgin, and returned to her home town to work after graduation.

Dr. Julee Kingsley, dentist, practices out of a building in Elgin, Minn., financed with a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities loan. Dr. Kingsley grew up in Elgin, and returned to her home town to work after graduation.

If you’re looking to shatter any preconceived notions you might have about rural Minnesota, take a trip to Elgin and spend some time with Dr. Julee Kingsley and Dr. Colleen Urbain. Read more »