Low Elevation Spray Application and Low Energy Precision Application systems are being used on the Gonzales’ alfalfa field in Lovington, NM. This month, USDA celebrates our partnerships to encourage conservation practices on both public and private lands.
America’s farmers, ranchers and forest owners have a great tradition of stewardship of our natural resources and environment. The U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other USDA agencies work in partnership with farmers, ranchers, forest owners, conservation groups, sportsmen, local communities, businesses and many others to encourage the conservation of both our public and private lands. This month – National Conservation Month – the Forest Service and NRCS are making several announcements that highlight the commitment of USDA and its partners to natural resource stewardship on public and private lands.
Later today, Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce the latest round of recipients for the NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants program (CIG). These grants stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches that improve the productivity of farms, ranches and forests while enhancing the environment. For example, last year the University of Delaware used a CIG grant from NRCS to assist poultry producers in improving their operations and their environmental performance, and helping them comply with federal and state environmental quality requirements. Read more »
United States Senators Tom Carper (left) and Chris Coons (right) with children attending Primeros Pasos (First Steps). The children will move to a larger facility with funding assistance from USDA. USDA photo.
Last week, United States Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and USDA officials announced a federal grant award to Primeros Pasos, a non-profit organization dedicated to the establishment of a multi-cultural early child care education center for all children of families living and working in the Georgetown, Delaware area.
USDA recognizes that access to quality child care is a major component in helping the unemployed and underemployed make the transition to employment. This organization is improving the quality of life in rural America and is gifted with the two elements necessary for the success of this facility — sound management and community support. Read more »
During a tour of the new home of Sussex Academy (l-r) USDA Rural Development Community Program Director Denise MacLeish, USDA Director of Legislative and Public Affairs David Sandretti, rising freshman Cohen Davis, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, rising eight grader Elise Conlin, Acting Delaware/Maryland State Director Kathy Beisner, and Loan Specialist Angela Tilghman stand with Sussex Academy’s new logo. USDA Photo.
Sussex County, Delaware’s only charter school, the former Sussex Academy of Arts & Sciences middle school, is being re-named “Sussex Academy” as it expands to include a high school. But unlike most expansion projects, the academy is swapping its old building for an existing building that meets its needs, and it is doing it with help from USDA.
The swap was highlighted recently at an event attended by USDA Rural Development, school officials, and U.S. Senator Tom Carper. Read more »
Stakeholders meet with USDA staff in New York recently to discuss ways to use Rural Development programs to help small businesses create jobs and grow businesses. USDA photo.
Last month, USDA Rural Development’s Delaware – Maryland State Office and the State Office staff in New York hosted roundtable discussions on Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) availability. RLF programs are unique programs that provide funds to local and regional organizations to capitalize and operate revolving loan funds. Revolving loan funds are used to assist with business financing and economic development activities to create and/or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities. As such, these are programs that have great potential for meeting USDA’s rural economic mandate in a time of scarce federal funding. Read more »
Earlier this month I joined Delaware Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons in announcing USDA funding support for a project that will help 24 limited-income families build their own homes. It’s called Self-Help Housing.
Under the program, limited-income credit-worthy families work together to build their own houses. Usually, about eight families work together under the guidance of a construction foreman and the process takes about a year. The program requires applicants to provide at least 65 percent of the labor, and at closing, this contribution becomes their “sweat equity.” At the end of the process, USDA provides a direct homeownership loan at an interest rate of as little as one percent.
“The Self-Help Housing Program is one that instills a sense of pride in individuals as they work to build the very structure they will live in,” said Senator Carper. “Homeownership is part of the American dream, and programs like the USDA’s Rural Development Self Help Housing Program make that dream more accessible as we work our way out of this long and difficult recession,” Senator Coons said. Read more »
Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager visits with prospective homeowner Linda Diaz at a self-help housing subdivision in Laurel, Delaware. USDA helps thousands of limited-income families each year as they purchase or repair homes.
Today, June 1, is the first day of National Homeownership Month, which is celebrated each June to highlight the important role housing plays in creating jobs, maintaining viable rural communities and contributing to the economy. Read more »