The winds of winter may still be blowing in many parts of the country, but it is already time to start thinking about the summer. 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch during the school year through USDA’s National School Lunch Program. For many children, school meals are the only complete and nutritious meals they eat, and in the summer they go without. 22.3 million children are at risk of going hungry when the school year ends and school lunches are no longer available. Read more »
While the past couple years have been a financial challenge for many Americans, the goal of achieving the American Dream of homeownership remains strong. This is especially true in Iowa where USDA Rural Development has been very involved in making homeownership a reality for thousands of rural families. Thanks to additional funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a record 2,400 families in rural Iowa received $233.2 million in mortgage assistance from USDA Rural Development in 2010. Read more »
Maine has one of the highest per capita rates of cancer in the United States, and for many cancer patients living in rural areas of the state, a long drive into a bigger city to receive necessary medical treatment can be daunting. Snowy Maine winters, the high cost of gasoline, relying on family or friends to drive when a patient is not feeling well, and the sheer exhaustion that comes with traveling 140 miles round trip or longer can take its toll on a cancer patient. Now, thanks in part to a USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant, many patients will be able to receive the highest quality care and treatment without having to leave their own rural communities. Read more »
Speaking before a capacity crowd this morning at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, a distinguished panel representing three federal agencies and a member of the agricultural media discussed Federal renewable energy policy and its prospects to reduce consumption of imported oil, improve environmental quality and produce new jobs in rural America. Read more »
Agricultural exports were at the forefront during yesterday’s National Export Initiative (NEI) session at USDA’s 2011 Agricultural Outlook Forum. Earlier that day, USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber announced the latest agricultural export forecast for fiscal year 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2011), which set the stage for a lot of interest in NEI and a packed afternoon session. President Obama and USDA view exports as one of the key drivers of sustainable economic growth and job creation. That’s why, under NEI, President Obama set a goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Read more »
USDA is committed to ensuring the integrity and impartiality of the claims process. A neutral, third party has been tasked with overseeing all aspects of the process, including notifications, to make certain that it is fair and equitable. As we move forward, we’re focused on making sure our programs are more inclusive and accessible than ever to all Americans.
Today is an historic day for USDA. Working with colleagues at the Department of Justice, we launched a program that provides a path to justice for Hispanic and women farmers who believe they were discriminated against by USDA between 1981 and 2000. Many of these farmers and ranchers have waited and fought to get relief, but until now their only means of getting their complaints heard was to file an individual case in federal court. Today we are providing folks with a simpler path that enables them to file a claim for compensation that will be resolved by a neutral party without the involvement of the courts. Read more »