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Posts tagged: Kentucky

High Tunnel Gives Kentucky Farmers Advantage with Berries and Other Produce

Chris and Tracy Adams with their daughters Ashley and Abigail.

Chris and Tracy Adams with their daughters Ashley and Abigail.

Similar to the old adage, when Chris Adams married the wife, he married the family – and the family farm. Lucky for him, he loves farming and enjoys working with his in-laws to manage the 4,000-acre farm of soybeans, wheat and corn.  Now it’s his full-time job, working with his brother-in-law to raise fields of commodity crops each year. But recently, Chris and Tracy Adams, and the rest of the family, began experimenting with farming at a much smaller scale.

They built a seasonal high tunnel, a greenhouse-like structure that produces a plentiful supply of strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and peppers. High tunnels are made of plastic or metal pipe and covered with sheeting, typically made of plastic. Unlike greenhouses, they require no energy to heat, instead relying on natural sunlight to create favorable conditions for growing vegetables and other specialty crops. Read more »

Saluting our Veterans and their Service to America

Kentucky State Director for Rural Development, Thomas Fern, (grey suit) presents keys for new van to the Magoffin County Judge Executive and the Magoffin County Disabled American Veterans organization. USDA photo.

Kentucky State Director for Rural Development, Thomas Fern, (grey suit) presents keys for new van to the Magoffin County Judge Executive and the Magoffin County Disabled American Veterans organization. USDA photo.

Parade formations, 21-gun salutes, solemn flag presentations are all an important part of the duties carried out by our nation’s veterans and their organizations as they help us remember the fallen and show support for our current members of America’s military forces. Each have engrained in their memory the wars or battles fought to keep our nation free and to ensure we live under a true and open democracy.

Recently, I presented members of the Disabled American Veterans in Magoffin County, Ky., a set of keys to a new transport van.  Equipped with handicap accessible ramps, this van will ease the challenge of getting veterans to community events in their area.  The van also will serve as a means of transportation for area veterans needing assistance with visits to doctor appointments and medical facilities.  USDA Rural Development provided Magoffin County a grant for the purchase of this vehicle. Read more »

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Help Feed Kids During the Summer

Ensuring disadvantaged children have enough to eat during the summer is a top priority for USDA. Historically Black Colleges and Universities can play a critical role in helping us achieve this goal.

Ensuring disadvantaged children have enough to eat during the summer is a top priority for USDA. Historically Black Colleges and Universities can play a critical role in helping us achieve this goal.

Although about 21 million children nationwide receive free and reduced-priced meals through our National School Lunch Program, only about 3.5 million meals are served through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) on a typical day. Closing this gap and ensuring that disadvantaged children do not go hungry during the summer months is a goal that USDA can only achieve through work with our partners.

One of the ways we’re strengthening partnerships is through our StrikeForce Initiative which helps us target state partners to work with across the country including universities and colleges. A great example of this initiative at work is the Alabama Department of Education teaming up with Tuskegee University, a Historically Black University in Alabama, which now sponsors four community-based summer feeding sites in Macon County where disadvantaged kids can get a free and nutritious summer meal. Read more »

Making a House a Home – A Labor of Love

First time homeowner, 76 year old Carol McCormack Arentz with Tom Fern, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky. USDA photo.

First time homeowner, 76 year old Carol McCormack Arentz with Tom Fern, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky. USDA photo.

June is Homeownership Month.  Today we are sharing a first person account of a 76-year old Kentucky resident who used USDA’s home loan program to purchase her first home.  She submitted this account through the USDA Rural Development Kentucky State Office and we are sharing it so that others who are interested will better understand the steps that must be taken before closing. USDA has helped rural residents purchase homes since 1949. Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Direct and Guaranteed home loan programs have helped more than 650,000 rural residents buy houses.   Each buyer has a story.  Here is one of them. Read more »

The ‘Dream of Homeownership’ is More than a Cliché for a Kentucky Family

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.

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 »

New Center Improves Lives of Kentucky Seniors, Creates Jobs

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 »