Nurse Jennifer Witting stands beside newly installed telemedicine equipment at the Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium, MI in June 2012. The Aspirus Health Foundation, Inc. received two Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development (RD) DLT Program, that enabled Aspirus to grow their Telehealth infrastructure into communities in north-central Wisconsin and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. USDA photo.
This week at USDA we are celebrating National Health IT week by highlighting USDA’s ongoing efforts to expand modern health care access to rural America. Yesterday, we announced two new steps to improve health care for rural Americans – both through new investments in health infrastructure and ongoing interagency partnerships designed to better focus Federal efforts on rural health care.
USDA is expanding a partnership with HHS and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as part of our work together on the White House Rural Council, to leverage funds and other efforts that will support advanced health care technology in rural hospitals. This partnership is an extension of a successful pilot launched in five states – Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas – to identify rural critical access hospitals in persistent poverty areas in need of advanced health care technology. For example, during the pilot phase of this partnership, the USDA Rural Development Iowa State Office, the Iowa Regional Health IT Extension Center (REC) and the Iowa State Office of Rural Health convened the first Iowa Rural Health IT Forum to expand care for Critical Access Hospitals. Read more »
That's an "almost home" smile! Photo of Maj. Matt McCoppin, USDA employee, taken at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo courtesy: Matt Branson. Photos used with permission.
As we mark the Independence Day holiday, it’s an important time to remember the honorable service of our nation’s active duty and reserve service members, and our veterans. More than 10,000 veterans are on our team at USDA – and still more are currently serving in National Guard and Reserve units around the country. The Ohio Rural Development office recently shared stories of two employees currently serving.
For many USDA employees, “moonlighting” means late nights on the tractor or in the barn. It’s hard work that offers great personal reward. Likewise, two Ohio Rural Development team members recently undertook a special kind of second job: one that, a little like farming, entails great discipline and family sacrifice. Read more »
USDA Acting Administrator John Padalino (second from left) along with panel of judges at Great American Water Taste Test. Photo courtesy of the National Rural Water Association. Used with permission.
And the winner … the city of Prairie du Sac in southern Wisconsin for having the best tasting water in rural America. Earlier this week, at the National Rural Water Association’s Water Rally, Prairie du Sac won the coveted gold medal as part of the Great American Water Taste Test.
USDA Rural Utilities Service Acting Administrator John Padalino served on the judging panel. Padalino administers USDA water and environmental programs. Read more »
USDA employees from Rural Development and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service assist at Harvesters, a local food bank.
USDA employees in Kansas from Rural Development and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently visited the Harvesters Distribution Center in Topeka in honor of National Service Day. Harvesters is a food bank that partners with more than 600 nonprofit agencies to provide nutritious food to individuals in 26-counties in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. Read more »
Rural Development is the lead Federal agency that works to ensure that rural families have access to safe, well-built, affordable homes. In February 2012, the agency initiated a two-year, pilot refinancing program in 19 states hardest hit by the Nation’s housing downturn to help eligible USDA borrowers reduce their monthly housing costs.
Today, USDA announced that the program is expanding to include eligible rural residents in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Read more »
President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the McIntosh family farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Monday, August 13, 2012 to view the drought stricken crops. The federal government has already taken some steps to ease farmers whose crops are growing poorly this summer, and the administration plans to spend close to $200 million on livestock, officials announced earlier in the day. The Department of Defense is encouraging vendors to buy meat to ease the crisis. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.
USDA and other federal agencies continue to work to address the long term effects of last summer’s historic drought.
In the wake of a series of regional drought conferences with farmers, ranchers, business owners and other stakeholders, USDA is entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Commerce, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to improve sharing of data and expertise, monitoring networks, and drought forecasting efforts. The MOU is a direct outcome of the regional conferences. Read more »