Yesterday, I joined local and state leaders at an event in North Carolina highlighting the Obama Administration’s drive to provide top-quality educational and health care opportunities to rural residents. I went to James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville, N.C., to highlight USDA funding that will enable the faculty to provide college-level and advanced placement courses to students in five high schools. It’s one of 100 Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grants awarded by USDA Rural Development nationwide.
These grants, administered through the Rural Utilities Service, are in keeping with the spirit of remarks President Obama made in a State of the Union Address. If we want this country to succeed in the 21st century, we must harness the potential of every young person in this country. It’s an economic imperative that we have a highly educated, highly trained – and healthy – workforce. Distance learning and telemedicine technology can effectively eliminate the barriers of time and distance that often challenge rural areas – bridging great distances to provide quality educational and health care opportunities to individuals that are hundreds, even thousands of miles away. Read more »
Under Secretary Tonsager and Worton farmer Frank Dill inspect a field of soybeans grown with the assistance of the County's spray irrigation system.
Earlier this fall, USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager traveled to Delaware and Maryland to tour two USDA funded wastewater system projects located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Read more »
No, no, the subject doesn’t have any connection to two children’s movies titled “Transformers” or “Toy Story”. It does, however, pertain to an engaging session that was held among South Dakota staff to broaden their understanding of cultural transformation.
The sessions were led by two dynamic facilitators, Joanna Donahue and Vickie Oldman-John who assisted staff with gaining a better understanding of cultural transformation. Read more »
What started as an office meeting between USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager and Rev. David Zellmer, Bishop of the SD Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, regarding food ministry and feeding the hungry has flourished into meetings of constituents across the state of South Dakota. Over 21 representatives from faith based organizations already addressing hunger issues in addition to state agencies, South Dakota Department of Agriculture, South Dakota State University and USDA Rural Development staff met to discuss the next steps towards a possible state-wide food council this week.
Bishop Zellmer led the group in discussion regarding what is already working well in the State such as good nutrition education programs already in place through Extension and in schools. Stream lined services and processes through the State Department of Social Services and community gardens in place to offer fresh produce without stigma. Read more »
Mac Curtis (left), owner of Windview Farm in Port Treverton, explains to Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager how his farm has benefited from the promising technology of a poultry litter incinerator that reduces his energy costs and the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.
On a crisp, fall-like day in August, Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager travelled to Pennsylvania to tour two USDA funded facilities that are helping to reduce the amount of nutrients flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. The first stop on the tour was Windview Farm where owner Mac Curtis has revolutionized his poultry farm with a $100,000 Conservation Innovation Grant from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The project demonstrates the promising technology of a poultry litter incinerator to produce energy and nutrient management benefits. Last year, in addition to reducing 400 tons of poultry litter to 30 tons of ash, the farm saved 90% of their propane costs. Read more »
Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager spent a busy week recently traveling throughout the heartland as a part of President Obama’s Rural Tour.
Under Secretary Tonsager attended a Rural Tour event in Iowa with President Obama and Secretary Vilsack, and then continued to South Dakota where he took part in DakotaFest. DakotaFest is an annual outdoor farm show that takes place on the Schlafffman Farm outside of Mitchell, SD. Mr. Tonsager visited with South Dakotans attending DakotaFest and talked about rural issues most important to them. Read more »