The Reading Grain & Lumber Company facility, an important source of local employment, was heavily damaged by the tornado.
Weather-related disasters have plagued the United States this spring and the rebuilding efforts appear daunting. The same weekend that Joplin, Missouri, was devastated by an EF5 tornado, Reading, Kansas, a rural town with a population of 250 was struck by an EF3 tornado. The scale of the damage in Reading is not comparable to Joplin in terms of dollars, numbers of homes and businesses damaged, or in lives lost. But the damage in the eyes of each individual and family is equal when you talk to displaced residents of either community. Read more »
Millions of those who receive nutrition assistance from the federal government are children. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our kids and so, at USDA, we are working to ensure that kids are being served safe, high quality meals.
To emphasize this priority, Secretary Vilsack has just announced that Kansas State University was selected to establish the Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs. Their important work will provide science-based support to improve the safety of USDA foods, particularly those served in schools and child care settings. Read more »
Administrator Judy Canales is joined by Missouri State Director, Janie Dunning and Kansas State Director, Patty Clark as they tour the ICM-Lifeline Foods Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant in St. Joe, Missouri.
President Obama and Secretary Vilsack have developed a national strategy for job creation and economic vitality through investment in green energy technology and businesses. USDA Rural Development can now help finance flex-fuel pumps through its Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP). Administrator Judy Canales saw those two initiatives intersect when she toured the new ICM pilot cellulosic ethanol facility in St. Joseph, Missouri. Read more »
I was honored to host a panel last week at the Department of Agriculture’s Ag Outlook Forum to showcase the impact of USDA broadband programs on so many in rural communities. Our February 25th Rural Development panel, “Building a Stronger Rural Infrastructure: Broadband,” portrayed the ripple effect these investments have.
We heard from Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which has provided electric power to consumers since WWII. They got into the broadband business because they recognized a need. Like many with a sense of community and knowledge of how broadband affects economic development, they successfully applied for Recovery Act broadband funding from USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency. “This will ultimately change the landscape of New Mexico,” Luis told the audience. “This is an opportunity for us to partner with colleges, health care facilities and the community to expand businesses, hire more employees, build markets and improve healthcare. To think that a small co-op in New Mexico can turn a project into a model program nationwide is exciting.” Read more »
Earth Team Volunteer Robert Mosier and his friend Marcella Thomas stand in front of a trailer full of refurbished, soon-to-be-donated bicycles with Jack the dog. NRCS recognizes Robert as its top volunteer for 2011.
When you’re Robert Mosier, it’s easy to be green. He’s a native of Greensburg, Kansas; the community totally leveled in 2007 by a devastating tornado and rebuilt “green” by USDA and other federal agencies, state and local entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals like Mosier. Read more »
A small rural community half way between Kansas City and Springfield is the Village of Brownington, possibly the best kept secret of Henry County. Nestled comfortably along the Harry S. Truman Lake, the Village consists of 119 residents with 68 housing units covering a land area of only 0.15 sq. miles. Their numbers may be small, but their courage and determination to revive their community is remarkable.
To the delight of the residents, the Village was recently awarded a grant for access to broadband service and the construction of a Community Center. The broadband service is a result of a program administered by USDA Rural Development. The program known as “Community Connect” provides grants to eligible applicants to establish broadband service in rural communities that are not currently served. Read more »