In recognition of National Women’s History Month, the South Dakota USDA Rural Development staff salutes all of the inspiring, influential women who are making a difference in society at the local, state and national level. In line with this year’s theme of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SMART) we draw strength and inspiration through the tenacity of one woman’s journey, Dawn Emily Ottman.
After a career in the military followed by a decade of success as an engineer, Dawn sustained a head injury. After years of relearning to walk and adjusting to her disability, she made the decision to work when she could, and not give up. So what’s a woman to do when she spends her life contributing and now finds herself requiring too many “accommodations” in the workplace? She creates her own job where she can accommodate her disability challenges. And so it was in 2005, when CanDew Scientific, a small business of one employee and a renewable energy “green engineering” company was formed with assistance received through the Small Business Development Center (SDBC). Centers of this type are funded across the nation in part with assistance from USDA Rural Development. Read more »
Nobody in the audience was checking emails or text messages. No one was squirming and looking at the clock. In fact, all of the attendees were riveted to the presentations.
The event was a recent Revolving Loan Fund Roundtable sponsored by USDA Rural Development in Phoenix, Arizona.
Lyle Frederickson with Great Western Bank observed the attentiveness and speculated that was because the lenders in the room represented small communities…and rural communities are crying out now more than ever for help capitalizing their small businesses. Read more »
Collaboration, cooperation and coordination are good words, especially when all three can be used to describe an action. Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri (CFNWMO) and nine other Missouri community foundations are collaborating, cooperating and coordinating in the funding and creation of a Transfer of Wealth (TOW) study.
On March 5, 2013, USDA Rural Development Missouri State Director Janie Dunning hosted an event announcing the funding of a Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) to complete the TOW study. The impetus for submitting the RBOG application came when Secretary Tom Vilsack attended the foundation’s annual meeting in January 2012. Read more »
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, right of center, hosted two roundtable meetings in Lower Brule, SD on Feb. 28, 2013. Deputy Secretary Merrigan held a press availability with tribal leaders to reaffirm the Obama Administration’s commitment to Indian Country and highlight the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) efforts to promote business development and job creation in rural South Dakota. USDA photo by Tammi Shone.
Last week, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan led a USDA delegation deep into the heart of Indian Country in South Dakota. All three of us and our teams from USDA’s South Dakota state offices for Rural Development, the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service were joined by the Acting Director of the USDA Office of Tribal Relations, Max Finberg, along with Darlene Barnes, the regional director of the Food and Nutrition Service, and South Dakota’s Agriculture Commissioner Walt Bones. We were hosted by the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Sioux nations in the center of our state. The Deputy Secretary held a roundtable discussion on the importance of agriculture and economic development in Indian Country and visited a unique Native American food company. She was joined by many tribal leaders and organizations, including farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs. Read more »
As the USDA Rural Development State Director for Oregon, I’m aware of the significant economic benefits our programs have produced in partnership with rural communities, residents and businesses in every corner of my state. As I drove across the country during my recent vacation, I was curious to also see how visible the Agency’s support for place-appropriate, locally led efforts would be on my route from Oregon to Virginia. Knowing what to look for, I could easily identify the signs of rural economic and community development—even from my limited dashboard viewpoint—as I drove a transect path across the USDA Rural Development nationwide service area. Rural America accounts for 75 percent of the Nation’s land area, and that is where we work. Across the rural landscape, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a community that hasn’t benefitted in some way from our support for affordable housing, business development, essential infrastructure, community facilities and clean, efficient energy. Read more »
Nathan Cann volunteers at Hollygrove Market and Farm (HGMF) in exchange for a box of fresh produce valued at $25.00 in New Orleans, LA on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. USDA photo by Karen Lawson.
New Orleans is known for many special things, not the least of which is its food.
That’s why Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan chose the crescent city this week to release a new report on the importance of food hubs in America. The report finds that there is an increasing demand for fresh, local foods and the popularity of food hubs is growing quickly. In fact, there are well over 200 across the country now, including Hollygrove Farm and Market in downtown New Orleans. Read more »