Students at Barack Obama Elementary School, near St. Louis, learn about healthy food choices through gardening.
Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Judith Canales recently had the opportunity to visit Missouri’s new Barack Obama Elementary School located in a suburb of St. Louis. The school district has started the Barack Obama Elementary Healthy Food Pilot Project where the objective is to serve a healthier school breakfast and lunch menu. As part of this pilot project, the Farm to School Program is being incorporated to bring in more locally grown produce. The elementary school has also created a school garden in partnership with community members, community-based organizations, and a local community gardening group. It appears that they are on the right track! Read more »
Secretary Vilsack visited the Stoltzfus’ Pennwood Dairy Farms on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 to announce the United States Department of Agriculture’s energy efficiency programs and announced a new effort to help rural consumers make affordable, energy-efficient improvements to their homes and businesses. USDA photo by Bob Nichols.
On a muggy day in July, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited a Pennsylvania dairy farm that is using an anaerobic digester to convert manure into electricity and high quality bedding, cutting energy costs and providing a resting area for more contented cows. The digester, which went on-line a year ago, was funded in part with the support of USDA Rural Development. Read more »
An American flag flies next to a new wind turbine, funded in part through USDA support. USDA photo.
Recently, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin got an up-close look at Iowa’s newest community-owned wind turbine. With an American flag snapping in the breeze, he marked the project, the investors and the opportunity for wealth creation via renewable energy in a town of 116 in southwest Iowa. Read more »
USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager had a unique opportunity to see the many dynamic things happening in rural Maine communities during his visit earlier this month. Each of the projects he visited represented a different way in which USDA Rural Development’s Programs are playing valuable roles, providing a multitude of benefits, including renewable energy, business sustainability, job creation and retention, distance learning, and telemedicine.
USDA Officials tour a new USDA-funded wind project that meets much of the power needs of a Maine island.
For example, I joined the Under Secretary and the Northeast Region State Directors on a ferry to Vinalhaven, a remote island community 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Once there, we were greeted by Town Manager Marjorie Stratton, and led on tours of the Fox Islands Wind site by Fox Islands Wind CEO George Baker, and COO Bill Alcorn. The three immense wind turbines will generate about as much clean renewable wind power as the Fox Islands use, which is between 10 and 10.5 million kilowatt hours per year. USDA Rural Development provided funding support to make possible the total $14 million wind turbine project. Read more »
Cross posted from the White House blog:
Since taking office, President Obama has been committed to an all-of-the-above approach that expands production of American energy resources. Already, there are signs that this strategy is making an impact. Last year, domestic oil production reached the highest level in nearly a decade. Imports of foreign oil fell to the lowest level in 16 years. We’re producing more natural gas than at any time in our history. Since 2008, renewable energy generation from sources like wind, solar, and geothermal has nearly doubled. And the Obama Administration has supported the first nuclear power plant in thirty years.
Strengthening the domestic biofuels industry has been another critical component of this overall strategy. And today, U.S. biofuel production is at its highest level in history. In fact, average monthly production increased more than 40 percent between 2008 and 2011. That means more jobs – especially in rural America – and greater energy security. Read more »
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has helped 512 rural small businesses and farmers install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
Senator Al Franken and Minn. Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer participate in a roundtable meeting on the USDA Rural Energy For America Program.
On Tuesday, April 10, about 40 of those farmers and small business owners gathered in Mankato, Minn., to discuss the REAP program during a roundtable featuring Senator Al Franken and USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer. Read more »