It is the goal of every USDA Rural Development program to help improve the economy and the quality of life in rural communities across this country – but with some projects, the impact of agency investment is not always obvious in the early stages. Once in a while, however; you have one that creates an economic domino effect with a return on investment that is nearly immediate.
A great example of such a project is taking place in Mercer County, Kentucky, and involves the expansion and upgrade of the Harrodsburg Water Treatment Plant. In 2010, Rural Development provided loan and grant funds to increase the plant’s capacity from four to six million gallons per day (MGD). Read more »
Some Prestonsburg, Kentucky residents have a new place to call home after the doors were opened recently on a newly constructed multi-family housing complex. The complex was funded in part by USDA Rural Development.
Residents in the rural Eastern Kentucky community of Prestonsburg have a new place to call home after Preston’s Crossing opened the doors on a newly constructed multi-family housing complex. Prestonsburg is located in Floyd County, which is one of Kentucky’s persistent poverty counties. Read more »
Despite below-freezing temperatures and high-wind advisories, more than 50 residents of Hardinsburg and Breckinridge County, Kentucky, turned out recently to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new public library. The crowd included local high school students, city and county officials, library board trustees and members and local law enforcement. Read more »
College student Latrice Watkins began an internship at the Kentucky USDA Rural Development State Office last summer – but her dedication, positive attitude and incredible work ethic led to an extended stay, which came to an end last week after seven months.
Watkins will graduate this spring from Kentucky State University – an 1890 Land-Grant Institution – with a degree in elementary education. Much to the disappointment of the state office staff who wanted her to stay on even longer, Watkins is leaving to begin two semesters of student-teaching. Read more »
When Denise Hamilton and her husband retire from their careers as teachers at West Jessamine County High School in Nicholasville, Kentucky, they plan to move to their new farm in Garrard County and supplement their retirement income by growing pasture-raised beef and organic vegetables.
“We just want to get back to the land, because that’s just who we are,” Hamilton said. “Back to who we are and also feel good about what we’re doing.”
The Hamiltons quickly realized they faced many challenges as beginning farmers. New farmers face unique challenges, including the rising cost of farmland and a lack of knowledge about how to get farmland, implement sustainable farming practices, and access operating capital to get started. Read more »
The Farm Credit Council, the trade organization for the farmer-owned Farm Credit System, was recently awarded a grant by the Risk Management Agency to produce written and web-based material using case studies to explain how local food systems work in the real world of business and economics, called the “Field Guide to the New American Foodshed.” With this field guide, beginning farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs will be able to identify different food system business models as they come across them, along with detailed explanations of their business structures and related resources.
Beginning farmers in Kentucky.
Most farm business advisors that are readily available are often very familiar with traditional commodity agriculture. But many beginning farmers and ranchers (BFRs) are serving markets that are often found outside of national and international commodity markets. In addition, many BFR operations are often located near metropolitan areas where there are fewer financial service providers familiar with the workings of an agricultural operation. Read more »