This story has three parts. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 later in the week.
When I arrived in Afghanistan as a USDA Agriculture Advisor in 2005, I was overwhelmed with what I found: an arid climate, agriculture being practiced in much the same way that it had been for thousands of years and corresponding agriculture technology. The direction that I had been given was: Find out what needs to be done, and get something on the ground. Read more »
As we mark the beginning of National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month I would like to make a request of everyone reading this blog: Take time today to learn more about the culture and history of the first people of this country. There will be events across the Nation, including here in Washington. I hope you’ll take the time to attend one. Read more »
Improving the nutrition and health of their students is a high priority for the staff at CentroNia- operated Bilingual Public Charter School (PCS) in Washington, DC. This was clear to me after I joined them to celebrate the salad bar donated to them by the Dole Food Company and United Fresh Produce Association. The event, also attended by DC-based celebrity Chefs Cathal Armstrong and Spike Mendelsohn, showcased the school’s deep commitment to the health and welfare of the school’s children and our nation’s next great generation. Read more »
Groundbreaking: From left to right: Rural Development Manager Janell Telin, Norman Perko – Council Member, Michael McCafferty – Dakota Nation Housing Development Authority, Winfred Rondell – Council Member, Joyce Country – Council Member, Rural Development Area Director Bruce Jones, Dale Bouer – Architect, Dave Red Thunder – Council Member, Steve Laughlin – primary designer on this project, Ed Red Owl – Chairman’s Attendant, Michael Selvage – Tribal Chairman for the Sisseton Whapeton Oyate, Jesse Larsen – Tribal Facility Manager, Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks, Tonya Peterson – Senator Johnson’s Staff, Terri Larsen – Council Member, Garryl Rousseau – Vice Chairman for the Sisseton Whapeton Oyate, Connie Williams – Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s Staff, and Judy Vrchota – Senator John Thune’s Staff.
In the mid-1970’s, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Sioux Tribe) relocated from a small tribal office building in Sisseton, SD, to establish a new tribal government at the Old Agency Dakota community in Agency Village, SD. Since then, the tribe has grown immensely in population and in services provided to tribal members, who presently have to travel long distances in order to get needed services from tribal programs at various locations throughout northeastern South Dakota. Today, the vision of providing needed services to its members in one central location is soon to become a reality, thus fulfilling the dream of decades ago with the move to Agency Village. Read more »
The Town of Newburg, West Virginia was awarded a total of $2,875,000 for the Fellowsville, York Run, and State Route 26 Water Extension Project. USDA Rural Development provided a $400,000 loan, $941,000 grant, and a $185,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant to the project. The Town serves approximately 250 households and small businesses with public water service, and this project will add roughly 150 new customers in Fellowsville, York Run, and State Route 26 of Preston County, West Virginia. The loans and grants were officially closed on July 19, 2010. Construction started on the project at the beginning of August 2010. Read more »
One of our biggest opportunities to increase employment and income in rural America is to enhance the sustainability of beginning farmers. Many farmers are retiring, and coupled with a renewed interest in local foods is causing an increased demand on small and medium-sized farmers. Nearly 25 percent of U.S. farmers are 65 years and older. The average age of the farm operator is 57 years. I have noticed a shift is occurring with an increase in the number of new farm operations with many Americans interested in becoming beginning farmers and ranchers. However, these farmers face unique challenges, including rising cost of farm land, lack of knowledge about accessing farm land and the capital to buy the land, lack of training in sustainable farming practices, a lack of operating capital in their initial years, and many need experiential learning to be successful. Read more »