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 On Earth Day, U.S. Forest Service Seeks Applications for Wood to Energy Projects
WASHINGTON, April 22, 2014 -- As part of the national observance of Earth Day, the U.S. Forest Service today announced that it is seeking proposals that expand wood energy use and support responsible forest management. Also today, the Forest Service released a Wood Energy Financial App for use by community and business leaders seeking to replace fossil fuel with wood energy.
 USDA Rural Development Celebrates Earth Day by Supporting Water Quality Projects in 40 States and Puerto Rico
WASHINGTON, April 22, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today celebrated Earth Day by announcing record support for 116 projects that will improve water and wastewater services for rural Americans and benefit the environment.
 USDA Awards Research Grants to Address the Impact of Climate Change on U.S. Agriculture Production
Des Moines, Iowa, April 22, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded $6 million to 10 universities to study the effects of climate on agriculture production and develop strategies to provide farmers and ranchers with the solutions they need to supply the nation with quality food. Vilsack made the announcement during remarks at “The Frontier of Climate Change: State and Local Action in the Heartland” conference held at Drake University.
 USDA Announces $150 Million Investment Fund to Grow Small Businesses, Create Jobs in Rural America
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, April 21, 2014 – As part of the Obama Administration’s new “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the creation of a new investment fund that will help propel the growth of small businesses across rural America. The new Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) will now allow USDA to facilitate private equity investments in agriculture-related businesses. Currently, USDA programs exist to help provide loans or loan guarantees to help rural businesses grow, but many small cutting-edge businesses also need equity support in addition to or instead of borrowed funds.
 USDA Awards Grants for New School Food Service Equipment to Help Schools Dish Up Healthy Meals
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $25 million in grants to help schools purchase needed kitchen equipment as they continue to provide school lunches and breakfasts that give children the nutrition they need to learn and grow. Over 90 percent of schools report that they are successfully meeting the updated nutrition standards, serving meals with more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, and less sodium and fat. These new grants provide additional support to schools to help them prepare meals that meet those standards.
 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Additional USDA Actions to Combat Spread of Diseases Among U.S. Pork Producers
St. Paul, Minn., April 18, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that in an effort to further enhance the biosecurity and health of the US swine herd while maintaining movement of pigs in the US, the USDA will require reporting of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) and Swine Delta Coronavirus in order to slow the spread of this disease across the United States.
 USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program-Historic Farm Bill Support Available through State Departments of Agriculture
WASHINGTON, April 17, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of approximately $66 million in Specialty Crop Block Grants to state departments of agriculture for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, through research, programs to increase demand, and more.
 USDA Helps Open and Expand Export Markets for U.S. Agriculture through 2014 Farm Bill Programs
WASHINGTON, April 16, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) awarded funding to more than 60 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for American products. The funding was made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA will begin accepting applications for 2015 export development program funding on April 17, 2014.
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