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USDA Rural Energy for America Program Helps A Pennsylvania Farm Produce Solar Energy

Farmer  David Fink (left), owner of Heidel Hollow Farms shows State Director Tom Williams, how Rural Energy for America Funding will help reduce his farm’s energy costs.

Farmer David Fink (left), owner of Heidel Hollow Farms shows State Director Tom Williams, how Rural Energy for America Funding will help reduce his farm’s energy costs.

I recently joined David Fink, at his Heidel Hollow Farm in Germansville. The family-owned, 1600 crop acre hay farm was awarded two USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants totaling $231,230. The grants will be used toward a solar energy project that will provide approximately 252,869 KW of electricity used in the hay compressing operation of the farm. David will also be able to replace one diesel engine with five electric motors, saving over 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year.  Both projects will significantly reduce the farm’s energy costs.  Read more »

USDA Business Programs Administrator Promotes Small Business Development in Southwest Louisiana

USDA Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs, Judy Canales (center);  Rural Development State Director, Clarence W. Hawkins (second from left)  and other officials tour the Game Equipment manufacturing plant.

USDA Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs, Judy Canales (center); Rural Development State Director, Clarence W. Hawkins (second from left) and other officials tour the Game Equipment manufacturing plant.

The Administrator for USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative Programs, Judy Canales was in Louisiana recently to tour Game Equipment, a Rural Development –funded project in Donaldsonville.  Louisiana Rural Development State Director, Clarence W. Hawkins; Jeff Jobe, Regional Coordinator of USDA Business programs; Peachy Melancon, wife of Congressman Charlie Melancon; Anne Perry, Regional Representative of Louisiana Economic Development Office (LED); John Broussard, Business and Cooperative Programs  Director; Lee Jones, Assistant to State Director and lenders were also on the tour.  Read more »

The Recovery Act in Your Community: Protecting Farmland & Houses

The dam is put to work after a rain storm.

The Prop Canyon Dam is put to work after a rain storm.

Prop Canyon Dam was built in 1960 in the village of Bluewater, New Mexico by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Lava Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Bluewater Toltec Irrigation District. The earthen structure was erected to protect crops, residents and infrastructure from serious flooding, and for 50 years it did just that. Read more »

USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan Celebrates Farm Preservation

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan holds a sack of Rhode Island potatoes produced at Ferolbink Farm

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan holds a sack of Rhode Island potatoes produced at Ferolbink Farm

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited Rhode Island last Friday to celebrate the preservation of Ferolbink Farm, one of the State’s most iconic coastal farms. The event highlighted the success of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, which allows for conservation easements on farmland, ensuring that such farms are preserved for the benefit of present and future generations. Read more »

Scientists Agree: Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century

Support local farmers, strengthen rural communities, promote healthy eating, and protect natural resources…these goals of our Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative find a lot of support in the results of a major new scientific study by the National Research Council, Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century.  A group of fifteen experts spent three years reviewing many hundreds of scientific papers and detailed case studies of sixteen farms to understand how U.S. agriculture can “produce more crops, pollute less, fulfill consumer preferences, pay fair wages, and make a living – all with increasingly scarce natural resources such as land and water.” Read more »

Seeing ARRA’s Investment take Hold

Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton is interviewed by Marshall Owler, a journalist from KTCB Fox Channel 7 news in Austin, Texas. Dr. Thornton highlighted the impact of equipment gained through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding at Decker Elementary.

Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton is interviewed by Marshall Owler, a journalist from KTCB Fox Channel 7 news in Austin, Texas. Dr. Thornton highlighted the impact of equipment gained through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding at Decker Elementary.

I recently traveled to the Texas State capitol of Austin for a speaking engagement in the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) “3E’s of Healthy Living 2010 FND Staff Conference.” Prior to the event I was given the opportunity to tour Decker Elementary, a recipient of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. I met with with Manor Independent School District (ISD) staff, Principal Leslie Whitworth and TDA Assistant Commissioner Angela Olige, and we toured the school cafeteria to learn how the funding is benefiting students. It was exciting to see their new equipment, as I am quite passionate about school nutrition. Read more »