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Recovery Act Broadband Award Helps a Kansas Family Owned Rural Telephone Company and Provides Broadband to Rural Residents

Robert Koch, President and General Manager of H&B Communications in Holyrood, Kansas, stands in front of a mural highlighting milestones in his family's telecommunications business.

Robert Koch, President and General Manager of H&B Communications in Holyrood, Kansas, stands in front of a mural highlighting milestones in his family's telecommunications business.

Robert Koch, President and General Manager of H&B Communications in Holyrood, Kansas, displays the story of his family owned rural telephone company on the wall behind his desk.  The mural, painted by an area artist, highlights the advancement in telecommunications since the company was founded in the 1950’s by Robert’s grandparents.  The historical image also features two of the three generations of family ownership including his mother and grandmother who served as telephone operators in the early decades of the company. Read more »

Recovery Act Launches a Shooting Star, Funds for New Farmers Paying Dividends

 

Matt McCue and Lily Schneider of Shooting Star CSA survived the process of becoming a California Certified Organic Farm.  They use no chemicals or pesticides, and rely on practices that reduce impact on the environment.

Matt McCue and Lily Schneider of Shooting Star CSA survived the process of becoming a California Certified Organic Farm. They use no chemicals or pesticides, and rely on practices that reduce impact on the environment.

 The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) made many significant investments in small private enterprises in rural America. Shooting Star is a farm in Northern California where that investment is paying dividends.

Funds from ARRA, better known as the Recovery Act, made it possible for Matt McCue and Lily Schneider to launch their new farming venture in verdant Suisun Valley. They took the name Shooting Star from a colorful flower growing on nearby hillsides. This young couple, both in their mid-20s, started their organic operation with the help of two Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans, one funded by the Recovery Act. And they are grateful. Read more »

USDA Business Programs Administrator Makes Recovery Summer Tour Stops and Addresses Financial Leaders in Nebraska

 

Administrator Canales, the Mayor and Library officials review the plans for the future Pawnee City Public Library. The building is being funded with USDA Recovery Act support.

Administrator Canales, the Mayor and Library officials review the plans for the future Pawnee City Public Library. The building is being funded with USDA Recovery Act support.

USDA Administrator for Business and Cooperative Programs Judy Canales joined Nebraska Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul and staff earlier this month for Recovery Summer Tour stops in Pawnee City and the future Pawnee City Public Library. Read more »

USDA and SBA Team Up for Small Rural Business in Iowa

A participant of an Iowa Business Resource Roundtable. The discussions highlight traditional access to business resources and federal/state funding opportunities as well as learning opportunities for producers, entrepreneurs, and others interested in expanding their role in local food systems.

As I have been discussing Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food with producers and local-food advocates across Iowa, one thing has become quite evident: access to capital is a huge barrier.  In fact, at a meeting last month to develop an Iowa Food and Farm Plan that will be presented to the state legislature, access to traditional financing was listed as a major obstacle. Read more »

Helping a Threatened Butterfly Recover in Oregon

 

The native violet, Viola adunca, which the NRCS Corvallis Plant Materials Center is growing for silverspot butterfly habitat.

The native violet, Viola adunca, which the NRCS Corvallis Plant Materials Center is growing for silverspot butterfly habitat.

The silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta) is one of two native Oregon butterfly species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Once found in coastal headlands from northern California to southern Washington, it has disappeared from all but a handful of grassland sites along the Oregon coast. Read more »

USDA Urges Consumers: Check Your Freezers

Written by Lisa Wallenda Picard, Food Safety and Inspection Service

Last night, USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall of frozen ground beef products. Working closely with our partners at California’s Department of Public Health, investigators were able to connect several illness with products sold.  Because E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium, USDA is asking consumers to check their freezer and immediately discard any product that is the subject of this recall. Read more »