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Posts tagged: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Gigabit Comes to Rural Western North Carolina

New routing switches installed to support Country Cablevision's expanded broadband service

New routing switches are installed to support Country Cablevision's expanded broadband service in rural North Carolina.

At the foot of Mount Mitchell, highest peak east of the Mississippi River, sits the quiet town of Burnsville, North Carolina. People come and go from the textile factory, hikers visit to climb the mountain, and a colorful art scene adds flavor to the community. But in 2009 in the wake of the stock market crash, unemployment in the county rose to 11.9 percent. Burnsville’s problems were compounded by the lack of broadband Internet outside of the town-center, which limited its potential growth.

When USDA announced broadband funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Burnsville-based Country Cablevision saw an opportunity to expand and upgrade their existing Internet service in Mitchell and Yancey Counties. Read more »

USDA Investments Make Big Impact in Rural America

USDA Rural Development 2015 Progress Report

USDA Rural Development 2015 Progress Report.

USDA Rural Development’s just released 2015 Progress Report highlights the many ways that the Agency’s investments in businesses and communities created jobs, provided economic opportunities and improved local infrastructure for millions of rural residents.

This report also presents the historic level of investment in rural communities since President Obama took office in 2009. Among the highlights, USDA: Read more »

Food Insecurity in U.S. Households Essentially Unchanged from 2013, but Down from 2011 High

Prevalence of food security in 2014 was essentially unchanged from 2013 and 2012, down from 2011 chart

The Economic Research Service has released Household Food Security in the United States in 2014. ERS has also conducted recent research on the impact of economic conditions and policies on the incidence of food insecurity. (Click to enlarge)

USDA’s recently released annual report on the incidence and severity of food insecurity in American households marks 20 years of Federal statistics measuring U.S. food insecurity. This year’s report, presenting 2014 data, shows that 86.0 percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year, meaning that all household members had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. In 2014, 14.0 percent of U.S. households (17.4 million households) had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members because of a lack of financial or other resources. Food insecurity, essentially unchanged from 2013, is down from a high of 14.9 percent measured in 2011.  

Looking back over the last several years, the food insecurity rate, as expected, rose in 2008 with the recession. But the food insecurity rate has not returned to pre-recession levels. Research shows that while modest improvements in food security have accompanied declining unemployment, other changes in the economy, including higher food prices, appear to offset the effect of unemployment declines. These higher food prices, along with an increase in overall inflation, are key factors preventing food insecurity rates from any substantial decline. Another Economic Research Service (ERS) study found that, particularly for households receiving benefits from USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), higher local food prices were related to higher food insecurity. Read more »

In Kentucky, a Model for Relevance

Lincoln Manufacturing USA, LLC employee, Jeff Burkett, explains product details to Kentucky State Director Tom Fern, RBS Administrator Lillian Salerno, and RBS program director in Kentucky, Jeff Jones. USDA photos.

Lincoln Manufacturing USA, LLC employee, Jeff Burkett, explains product details to Kentucky State Director Tom Fern, RBS Administrator Lillian Salerno, and RBS program director in Kentucky, Jeff Jones. USDA photos.

Kentucky is well-known for its “bluegrass” lands, horses, bountiful agriculture and mountainous hills in the Appalachian region of America. A region historically challenged economically. But today, it is a region on the cusp of new economic opportunity. I recently saw first-hand how the region’s collaborative approach to economic development is unleashing a blazoned entrepreneurial spirit that serves as a model for re-establishing the relevance of rural America to our global economy. Read more »

With Support from USDA, A Michigan Town Clears the Iron from its Water

The moment of truth: USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan James J. Turner (fourth from right) cuts the ribbon to Williamston’s new water treatment plant with Willamston Mayor James DeForest.

The grand opening of Williamston, Michigan’s Water Treatment Plant featured an unusual beverage as its centerpiece:  Tap water. Along with a celebratory cake and other snacks, the organizers offered up large chilled containers of Williamston’s new and improved drinking water – and residents were happy to help themselves. Read more »

Rural Wisconsin Residents to Benefit from a USDA-Funded Broadband Expansion Project

Carol Wetuski, USDA Rural Development Area Director, and Al Ripp, TDS Regional Marketing Manager cut the ribbon to mark commencement of construction on the broadband stimulus project. Wetuski and Ripp were joined by representatives and workers from InterCon Energy Services and TDS Telecom; and Green County Development Corporation Executive Director, Anna Schramke for the celebration.

It goes without saying that broadband-high speed internet has changed the way we live our lives.  And it should . . . this is the digital age.

For many it is hard to imagine how you would get by without it.  With access to the internet, one can easily sell a car, find and apply for a job, read the news, manage a business, or work from home.  The advantages of having broadband access is that you can connect to anywhere in the world on your terms, at your convenience, when you want – that is unless you live in rural America. Read more »