WormFarm’s autumn D’Tour project in Sauk County, Wisconsin (Photo courtesy of WormFarm. Used with permission.)
As part of USDA’s effort to partner with foundations and increase investments in rural America, the Department has been working with the National Endowment for the Arts and Artplace to maximize grants that are being made in rural communities. ArtPlace is a non-profit organization which implements a funding pool from thirteen national and regional foundations and six national banks. In the past two years ArtPlace has invested nearly $30 million to support organizations aiming to improve their communities through creative place-making. Read more »
The thought of having to hand-carry a honey bucket, (a five gallon pail filled with human waste) out of your house and dump it to an outdoor common collection container in winter temperatures that drop to -55 °F, is an unpleasant scenario. For some residents in the community of Lower Kalskag, and other rural Alaskan communities, this is a reality. They have no indoor plumbing, and no indoor hot or cold running water.
The community of Lower Kalskag, Alaska, is remotely located 350 miles west of Anchorage in a persistent poverty area. This small, predominantly Alaska Native community has a population of around 280 and roughly fifty percent of its homes still lack adequate sanitation systems. The lack of sanitation services is a dire health and safety issue faced daily by a number of rural Alaska residents. Read more »
During a brief but busy trip to Oregon Monday, January 28, Agriculture Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager highlighted opportunities to increase public-private collaboration and innovative financing models for rural community and economic development. That morning, Mr. Tonsager delivered the keynote address at the Harvesting Clean Energy conference in Corvallis. Later that day in Portland, Mr. Tonsager sat down with a diverse group of business, technology, education, agriculture, finance and state government representatives to stress the importance of inter-entity teamwork to achieve a common vision for a self-sustaining, prosperous rural America.
“Our mission is to help create jobs in rural America,” Mr. Tonsager explained. “We are looking for creativity, especially as it relates to putting capital together for rural areas so that we can extend our resources further in a thoughtful, sensible way.” Read more »
There are more than 160,000 public water systems providing water to almost all Americans at some time in their lives. Millions of Americans receive high quality drinking water every day from their public water systems. But access to quality drinking water cannot be taken for granted.
Like many small towns in rural America, the Town of Otter Creek in Levy County, Florida, strives to provide its residents with safe, high quality water. Unfortunately, for this community of under 150 people, poor quality drinking water is a reality. With high levels of trihalomethanes and iron in the water supply, town officials faced a potential health hazard and a lack of financial resources to address the problem. The Town was issued a Consent Order by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to find a solution for the water quality issue. Given the town’s median household income of $18,000, and limited town resources, town officials sought assistance to develop a plan toward remedying the situation. Read more »
Colorado native and local business owner Bruce Longwell at his Durango, CO home on July 17, 2012. Mr. Longwell financed the single-family house with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) Housing Assistance loan. This provided lower monthly payments than his prior rental home. Homeownership provides potential gains through home equity. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
Homeownership became a reality twice for Bruce Longwell, thanks to USDA Rural Development. Twice has Longwell been able to purchase a home through the USDA Direct Home Loan Program. Read more »
USDA Rural Development and partners held a revolving loan fund stakeholder roundtable in Lincoln, Nebraska via videoconferencing at the Nebraska sites of Kearney, Chadron, Norfolk and Scottsbluff. Thirty-six stakeholders attended, learning about the various revolving loan fund programs that USDA Rural Development offers.
Partners who contributed to the roundtable included Executive Director Jen Wolf of Dawson Area Development, Business Loan Officer Craig Eberle of Southeast Nebraska Development District and Business Loan Specialists Jeff Christensen and Holly Quinn of Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District. Read more »