Six families gathered in Liberal, Kan., to celebrate the completion of their newly constructed homes. The families utilized USDA Rural Development’s Self-Help Housing Program administered by the City of Liberal to help construct the homes. The family members devote time and labor to painting, roofing, siding and other types of tasks and lower the cost of construction, while developing equity in their new home.
In 2006, the City of Liberal was awarded a technical assistance grant from USDA Rural Development to begin the Self-Help Housing Program. Through the program, 30 homes have been built in Liberal. USDA Rural Development’s direct home loans have financed $3.9 million in construction for Liberal’s self-help homes. Read more »
Kirkendall Heights, located in Ellsworth, Kan., developed new whiskey barrel gardens. Residents Betty Jo and Eric are proud to show off their new gardens.
Kansas gardening projects and the USDA People’s Garden initiative were featured items during the Rural Rental Housing Association of Kansas (RRHAK) Annual Meeting. Aimee Omohundro from USDA Rural Development, David Coltrain from Kansas State University Research and Extension, Shari Wilson from the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education, and Terri Bradshaw from Homestead Affordable Housing discussed how to start a garden, rewards of gardening and how to get the community involved. Read more »
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 »