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At the Indiana State Fair: Farmers, The First Entrepreneurs

Ed. Note: Building on the President’s commitment to address issues important to rural Americans, Administration officials are visiting state fairs all summer. See a map of where we’ve been so far, and hear from SBA Deputy Administrator Johns about her recent visit to the Indian State Fair:

Having grown up in Indiana, I know firsthand that there is much debate over what a “Hoosier” is, but I can tell you for certain that there were many at the Indiana State Fair. From the young 4-H and FFA participants that I met at a pancake breakfast, to the small businesses selling their products, and the family farmers displaying their livestock, Hoosiers represent the diversity and growth of the small business community. Read more »

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen Sworn In as USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen is sworn in to her new position as Under Secretary for Food Safety. Pearlie S. Reed, Assistant Secretary for Administration, swears her in as her husband, Dr. Daniel Gabbay, holds the Bible.

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen is sworn in to her new position as Under Secretary for Food Safety. Pearlie S. Reed, Assistant Secretary for Administration, swears her in as her husband, Dr. Daniel Gabbay, holds the Bible.

Secretary Tom Vilsack’s sunny office overlooking the National Mall set the perfect background this morning for Elisabeth Hagen’s first moments as USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety.

While her husband, Dr. Daniel Gabbay, proudly held the Bible on which she was sworn in, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen was excitedly welcomed to her new position. Because Secretary Vilsack was traveling, Assistant Secretary Pearlie Reed administered the oath before an excited group of USDA staff. Read more »

USDA Agencies Collect Food, Hold Contest, to Benefit DC Area Families

The winning USDA canned food sculpture.

The winning USDA canned food sculpture.

The final USDA Feds, Farmers and Friends Feed Families event, a food sculpture contest, was held August 19, at the Whitten Patio, in the USDA National Office in Washington, D.C. There were five USDA Agency teams competing. USDA Rural Development took first place!  We had a great team that planned and worked well together and had a lot of fun in bringing home the win. The judges commented that our entry best tied together rural America, farms, and food and was the most original. The food drive is nationwide and continues through August 31st.  For more information, click here. Read more »

Hampden County, Mass. To Conduct First Healthy Incentives Pilot

One of our Nation’s most pressing health challenges today is obesity with one in three children in America either overweight or obese.  Low-income individuals are particularly at-risk.  That’s why First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move! The campaign mobilizes the combined resources of the federal government, state and local governments, foundations, business and nonprofit organizations to help solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight and live healthier lives. Read more »

USDA Guaranteed Loans Give A Michigan Auto Parts Supplier The Ability to Add New Jobs

(From left):  SMI Co-owner Jerry Carlson, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, SMI President Dodd Russell, USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner, and The Bank of Northern Michigan Vice President for Business Banking Wade Van Houzen.

(From left): SMI Co-owner Jerry Carlson, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, SMI President Dodd Russell, USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner, and The Bank of Northern Michigan Vice President for Business Banking Wade Van Houzen.

Michigan has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs over the last few years, so it’s always nice to celebrate an occasion when we add jobs to this sector.

Earlier this week, USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner announced two guaranteed loans totaling $7,785,000 that will enable Skilled Manufacturing, Inc., a Traverse City manufacturing firm to hire 75 new workers.  Read more »

West Virginia Telecommunications Firm Receives Funds to Serve Rural Mountain Communities

Certificate Presentation:   Row 1 (l to r):  Hardy Telecommunications General Manager D. Scott Sherman and USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Lewis.  Row 2 (l to r):  Gerald Smith, Board Director; Arlie W. Funk, Board Secretary; Phyllis B. Cook, Board President; Loring E. Barr, Board Vice-President; and Harold Michael, Board Member.  Row 3 (l to r):  Greg Zirk, Board Member; Chris Strovel, Field Representative for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito; and Stanley Moyer, Hardy County Commission.

Certificate Presentation: Row 1 (l to r): Hardy Telecommunications General Manager D. Scott Sherman and USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Lewis. Row 2 (l to r): Gerald Smith, Board Director; Arlie W. Funk, Board Secretary; Phyllis B. Cook, Board President; Loring E. Barr, Board Vice-President; and Harold Michael, Board Member. Row 3 (l to r): Greg Zirk, Board Member; Chris Strovel, Field Representative for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito; and Stanley Moyer, Hardy County Commission.

Hardy Telecommunications, Inc., a nonprofit rural telephone cooperative, was recently awarded a $9,494,483 loan and a $22,153,791 grant through USDA Rural Development’s Telecommunications program.  This funding was made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). Read more »