USDA Rural Development Kentucky State Director Thomas Fern, Easton and Shawna Barnett, and Josh Speight of Kentucky Baptist Fellowship with volunteer builders in the background. USDA Photos.
Imagine for a moment you are a child surrounded by kind strangers – trailers coming and going with large pieces of structure, big cranes lifting and moving objects, women and men pounding nails into wood, saws ripping through timbers and groups of people working together to upright walls that will someday hold your toys.
Imagine being a child who only understands all this commotion through the explanation by his mother and father this will soon be their home. He doesn’t understand words like, “wealth creation”, “equity”, “dream of homeownership”, or other adult terms we use to define the values of owning a home. To him, it is about having a place where he can go outside and play in the yard, a place where his room becomes his refuge on occasion, and a place where he creates and records the moments in life that later become the memories recanted to his children and grandchildren. For Easton, watching all of this commotion and seeing the kindness of strangers, will be a memory that he will long remember. Read more »
Recently, I spoke at the grand opening of the Daisy Hill Assisted Living facility in Versailles, Ky. In visiting this facility, I reflected on the future of this and other facilities and their importance as we anticipate the droves of baby boomers seeking to maintain a quality of life as they transition to assisted-living.
The facility was financed through USDA’s Business and Industry Guarantee Loan program. The $4.5 million loan guarantee to Pinnacle National Bank of Nashville has provided the owners an opportunity to create a beautiful facility for the residents. Read more »
An architect’s drawing of the new facility. Photos courtesy of Christian Care Communities. Used with permission.
During my 12 years as state director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky, I have had the privilege of breaking ground on many projects; from water and sewer infrastructure, to business development, to housing complexes and community-based projects. All have been notable and important projects for enhancing the quality of life and improving economic opportunities in rural Kentucky. Read more »
Charlie Masters grew up on the farm he and his wife Rose Ann now own in Mays Lick, Ky. When Charlie and Rose Ann bought it from Charlie’s father, John, in 2006, the farm needed some work, but the couple was up for the challenge.
She and her husband are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to improve the farm for their cattle—and for themselves.
Because Charlie continues to work as an aircraft salesman, Rose Ann knew that she would be the one most involved with the day-to-day operation of the farm, with its 35 head of Charolais cattle. A former teacher herself, she signed up for training, and now has her Master Cattleman Certification. Rose Ann and Charlie also came to rely on USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Read more »
Lincoln Manufacturing USA, LLC employee, Jeff Burkett, explains product details to Kentucky State Director Tom Fern, RBS Administrator Lillian Salerno, and RBS program director in Kentucky, Jeff Jones. USDA photos.
Kentucky is well-known for its “bluegrass” lands, horses, bountiful agriculture and mountainous hills in the Appalachian region of America. A region historically challenged economically. But today, it is a region on the cusp of new economic opportunity. I recently saw first-hand how the region’s collaborative approach to economic development is unleashing a blazoned entrepreneurial spirit that serves as a model for re-establishing the relevance of rural America to our global economy. Read more »
Visitors sight several eagles during a recent guided boat tour offered by Land Between The Lakes. (Shannon Brockway/U.S. Forest Service photo)
While winter tends to be a quiet time for tourists at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in western Kentucky and Tennessee, tourists of a different feather flock to the lakes during our coldest months of the year. Read more »