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 »
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 »
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 »