Farmer Doug Goyings examines the drought-damaged corn on his farm in Paulding County, OH on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. USDA photo by Christina Reed.
The 2012 drought dried up more than just crops. For many U.S. farmers, it also dried up savings, material resources, and perhaps saddest of all, hope.
“The drought of course impacted our crop yields tremendously,” said veteran Ohio dairy farmer Leon Weaver. “Corn yields were about 50 percent of normal. Dairymen are exiting this business in droves.”
But for Weaver and nearly one hundred other Ohio, Michigan and Indiana farmers who gathered recently in rural Henry County, Ohio, hope was a commodity worth trading as they shared, in roundtable fashion, their ideas on how to access resources and rise from the dust. Read more »
“It’s not just about farmers and ranchers for the State Departments of Agriculture. And it’s not just about rural communities for USDA Rural Development,” said Missouri Rural Development State Director Janie Dunning. Dunning and three other State Directors joined together to introduce Rural Development programs to the Midwest Association of State Departments of Agriculture (MASDA) in St. Louis recently.
USDA Rural Development State Directors Janie Dunning, Colleen Landkamer, Colleen Callahan and Patty Clark make a presentation to the Midwest Association of State Departments of Agriculture
Read more »
Costumed guides, along with Larry the mule, were part of the tour of the Canal Corridor Association’s mule-pulled canal boat. Tour participants from right to left are Centrue Bank Vice President Doug Patterson; Samantha Warren, regional director for Rep. Debbie Halvorson; Canal Corridor Association President Ana Koval; Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales, and Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan.
The Canal Corridor Association, headquartered in LaSalle, Ill., has recaptured the past to build for the future, and a USDA Rural Development Business & Industry loan guarantee is helping them do it. Read more »
Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan stopped at Yannis Restaurant on her tour of businesses that benefitted from a revolving loan program funded by a USDA grant to renovate their historic buildings. From left, Main Street Momence board member Fran LeBeau, USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Callahan, Merrigan, Main Street Momence Executive Director Janine Loftus, and building owner John Valaveris.
This week, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan toured the Main Street of Momence, Il, to view the positive growth made possible by USDA’s investments in rural revitalization. The community was decorated with corn stalks and fall mums to welcome Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan to this town of 3,200 people, located 50 miles south of Chicago. Merrigan and Momence residents enthusiastically toured several businesses that received financing thanks to a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG), administered by the USDA Rural Development agency. Last year USDA provided a $99,000 grant to “Main Street Momence,” a preservation and volunteer based economic development program, to help them establish a revolving, low-interest loan fund. The program is designed to help small businesses locate or remain in Momence’s historic downtown area. Thirteen months later, four businesses have taken advantage of the increased access to credit by taking out loans. As a result, these businesses have created 27 new full time jobs and saved another 21 in this past year alone. Read more »
Written by USDA Public Relations Intern Megan Harrison
In celebration of June as National Homeownership Month, I had the privilege of travelling all over the state of Illinois (from Freeport in northern Illinois to 400 miles south in Carterville, and a few places in between) with Illinois Rural Development staff to watch a “talk show” hosted by our state director, Colleen Callahan. Read more »
By Joan Messina, Public Information Coordinator
USDA Rural Development celebrated a magnificent Earth Day in the bright spring sunshine at Vandalia Lake in Fayette County, Illinois, last Thursday. The clouds rolled away just hours before we joined Fayette Water Company (FWC) to mark the advent of abundant safe water for area residents. With Vandalia Lake as the backdrop, State Director Colleen Callahan announced that Rural Development was providing $1,275,500 in affordable funding to make FWC’s project possible.
After years of waiting, hundreds of area people now are sure of getting clean water. What an irony that the people living around this picturesque 660 acre lake have only contaminated and inadequate well water at their disposal.
The area’s access to clean water is possible only because of the hard work of the volunteer board of FWC and its partnerships with Rural Development and local entities, including area townships, the county highway department, and the City of Vandalia. We celebrated by signing a certificate of partnership to continue the work of bringing clean water to hundreds of homes around the Vandalia Lake area and joined pieces of water pipe as a symbol of the next step.
This was a perfect way to commemorate Earth Day, an event established 40 years ago by citizens committed to making their local communities cleaner and healthier. It was 22 years ago that concerned citizens in Fayette County began looking for ways to bring a healthy supply of water to rural Fayette County. Now FWC can rightfully boast that, with the completion of this phase, it will supply safe water to 1400 homes and farms. And Rural Development will be very proud to have been a partner in their efforts.
Fayette Water Company board members join Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan after signing a certificate of partnership.
Rural Development, Fayette Water Company and local partners sign two sections of water pipe to symbolize the next step in providing safe water to the Vandalia Lake area.