Three years ago this fall, Secretary Vilsack and I launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative (KYF2). Since then, we’ve seen interest and participation in local and regional food systems grow beyond anything we expected: whether I’m meeting with buffalo ranchers from the Great Plains or with members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I hear about efforts to connect producers and consumers locally and interest in how USDA can help.
In meetings of the White House Rural Council, which has representatives from across the federal government, regional food systems have been a key part of discussions. Read more »
U.S. Forest Service employee Jordon Sanders from Harlan, IA., waits for military aircraft to drop off more supplies in response to Hurricane Sandy at the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY, on Thursday, Nov 1, 2012. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.
When Hurricane Sandy was forecast to hit the east coast a little more than two weeks ago, no one would have imagined all the devastation and destruction the storm would leave behind. In days leading up to the mandatory evacuation of our coastal areas, many residents wondered if this would be a false alarm similar to last years’ evacuation, when Hurricane Irene came barreling through many of our towns. Although Irene caused considerable power outages, flooding and wind damage up and down the Garden State, nothing can compare to Sandy. Read more »
Recently, representatives of USDA Rural Development and other federal agencies held a collaboration meeting with the federally recognized tribes of the Ahtna Region, Alaska. The meeting was the fourth in a series of government-to-government Tribal Collaboration Meetings scheduled with tribes in Alaska. The venue for the meeting between federal officials and tribal leaders was in the beautiful remote Copper River valley at the Tazlina Community Hall. Tazlina is located seven miles south of Glennallen on Alaska’s Richardson Highway.
Tribal representatives and other partners from the region used the session in early August to discuss issues affecting their villages. Leaders from Rural Development, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Small Business Administration, Housing and Urban Development and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) were on hand to listen and participate in the dialogue. Read more »
Acting Deputy Under Secretary Judith Canales traveled to Texas recently to announce a much needed change to the USDA Rural Development water and wastewater funding process. Canales met with community members and local leaders in the City of Peñitas water treatment plant during her visit, and also spoke before members of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders 2012 Summit, held in McAllen.
The change to the funding process for water and wastewater treatment facilities will assign priority points for projects in colonias. The funding change will help increase investments needed to strengthen these communities and improve the quality of life for their residents, ultimately helping colonias address significant health risks.
The announcement was a terrific follow up to the new “Border Community Capital Initiative” (Border Initiative) MOU between U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) in June 2012. Read more »
A building that will stand against natural disaster for the safety of the Corn Creek District, Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota, is being partially funded through a grant from USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative (EII). While providing a safe haven for the residents, the community building will also provide a space for health care and emergency services and a facility for community youth.
If a community building is going to offer so much in integral services for the area, it should also be energy efficient. The foam forms for the walls will be filled with concrete and will add greatly to the insulation and temperature control of the building. Read more »
For most Americans, advanced health care facilities that can treat almost any kind of ailment are just a short drive away. But picture you or a loved one in your rural community enduring a life-threatening illness or injury, and having to travel hundreds of miles for medical attention. Compounding the issue are the often treacherous travel conditions during the winter months when remote roads are hazardous, and sometimes closed due to weather.
It’s no wonder that the community of Tazlina, Alaska, in the Copper River Valley, welcomed the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Copper River Native Association’s new health care and administrative facility on a 10 acre site. The project is a joint venture between USDA Rural Development through a Community Facilities direct loan; U.S. Housing and Urban Development and the State of Alaska. This new facility will replace the existing 40-year old scattered site facilities that were originally slated to be decommissioned or demolished in 1985. The land has been provided by Ahtna, Incorporated, A Native regional corporation, on a 99 year lease. Read more »