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 USDA Announces Funding Opportunity for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Projects
WASHINGTON, May 22, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program, which provides increased access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas.
 USDA Reminds Farmers to Certify Conservation Compliance by June 1 Deadline
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers to file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) with their local USDA Service Center by June 1, 2015. The 2014 Farm Bill requires producers to have the form on file in order to remain eligible, or to become eligible for crop insurance premium support.
 United States and OECD Outline Guidance for Rural Economic Development Policies
MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 21, 2015 – Today, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi released a joint statement outlining three major themes guiding rural economic development policies.
 Factsheet: The Four Pillars of Agriculture and Rural Economic Development
The potential to grow and make innovative products in rural America is limitless. Since 2009, the Obama Administration has made targeted investments to help rural businesses grow. Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s projects in affordable housing, energy efficiency, roads and bridges, and internet access, coupled with loans and grants for rural businesses, the Administration has helped to attract and retain a talented rural labor force, improve connectivity and access to information, move products to market, and make rural communities competitive—ultimately supporting strong local economies and expanded opportunity for rural Americans.
 USDA to Give Priority Funding for Regional Economic Development Projects
MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 20, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA’s plan to implement a Farm Bill provision that will have a major policy impact on the way the Department helps rural communities plan and finance regional economic development strategies. The new Regional Development Priority (RDP) policy will make it easier for rural communities to access resources to invest in long-term community development efforts by giving priority to applications for Rural Development programs that include regional partnerships and strategies.
 USDA Offers Summer Food Safety Tips In Advance of Memorial Day Weekend
WASHINGTON, May 20, 2015 – Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, and many Americans will celebrate with cookouts, camping, road trips and other activities that involve food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is reminding families to take extra care not to let foodborne bacteria, which grows more quickly in hot weather, ruin the fun.
 Global Experts Meet in Memphis to Discuss Rural Competitiveness for the 21st Century
MEMPHIS, TN, May 19 2015 - Today, leaders from 34 countries gathered in Memphis for the 10th Annual Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Rural Development Conference to discuss international strategies to address rural development in the 21st century, including creating jobs, building infrastructure, expanding access to health care, and making diversified rural investments. The theme of this year’s conference ‘National Prosperity through Modern Rural Policy: Competitiveness and Well-Being in Rural Regions’ engages the world’s leading policy officials, international experts, and representatives from the private sector to discuss how modern policies can help rural regions reach their full economic potential, support national growth and be globally competitive.
 USDA to Expand Investment in Water Conservation, Resilience across Drought-Stricken States
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest approximately $21 million in additional Farm Bill dollars to help farmers and ranchers apply science-based solutions to mitigate the short and long term effects of drought. These investments will focus financial and technical assistance in the most severely drought-stricken areas in eight states to help crop and livestock producers apply conservation practices that increase irrigation efficiency, improve soil health and productivity, and ensure reliable water sources for livestock operations.
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