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judith canales

USDA Strives to Improve Water Quality and Public Health in Low Income Communities in the Southwest

Acting Deputy Under Secretary Judith Canales traveled to Texas recently to announce a much needed change to the USDA Rural Development water and wastewater funding process. Canales met with community members and local leaders in the City of Peñitas water treatment plant during her visit, and also spoke before members of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders 2012 Summit, held in McAllen.

The change to the funding process for water and wastewater treatment facilities will assign priority points for projects in colonias. The funding change will help increase investments needed to strengthen these communities and improve the quality of life for their residents, ultimately helping colonias address significant health risks.

The announcement was a terrific follow up to the new “Border Community Capital Initiative” (Border Initiative) MOU between U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) in June 2012.

With USDA’s Help, a University in Pennsylvania is Making Big Changes to Student Housing

Mansfield University may be nestled in a tiny town in northern Pennsylvania, but they are moving ground on Phase II of a very big housing project. USDA Rural Development’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary, Judith Canalas and Pennsylvania Rural Development State Director Thomas Williams joined Mansfield University President Dr. Allan Golden and the Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation recently to break ground for Phase II of new suite style housing at the university that will offer students more space, create jobs in the community and help strengthen the economic vitality of the area.

New Hampshire Celebrates USDA 150th Anniversary at Miles Smith Farm

Over 250 people gathered at the Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, New Hampshire last week to celebrate USDA’s 150th Anniversary on a hot, humid summer day.

The hosts – Carole Soule and Bruce Dawson graciously opened their farm as the perfect location for this event. After driving up a narrow road, we discovered a scurry of activity as guests were welcomed and directed to a field set up with tents, farmer market vendors, informational booths and people.

USDA Recognizes Manufacturers who are Making a Difference in Rural America

Last month the White House and the USDA hosted the “Recognition of Manufacturing Success in Rural America” event at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office building in Washington, DC.  The ceremony recognized 46 rural manufacturing companies that have made outstanding contributions to the economy and job sustainability in their communities.

USDA Helps Prevent South Dakota Firm’s “Goose” From Being “Cooked”

Memories of a good home cooked meal…. Mom’s in the kitchen…Dad’s snatching tidbits when Mom’s back is turned….wonderful aromas wafting from the kitchen.   As the family joins together for dinner, the table is laden with scrumptious food, and Mom brings the crowning jewel to the table… a beautiful golden brown goose, roasted to perfection.

Are you wondering where you’d find a goose today to enjoy any time?  Did you know that 85-90 percent of the geese on the American market come from Schiltz Foods in Sisseton, South Dakota – a family business that grew from 5 geese in 1944 to over 200,000 birds today.  Brothers Richard and Jim Schiltz took over for their dad, Marlin, several years ago and oversee everything from production to marketing and beyond.

USDA and SBA Officials Discuss Job Creation and Business Investment Opportunities

Recently USDA Rural Development Administrator for Business and Cooperative Programs Judith Canales joined Small Business Administration (SBA) officials in Syracuse, New York, to discuss opportunities to promote rural small business investment and job creation.  The rural investment roundtable event was held at Dairylea Cooperative, Inc.

As part of the Startup America Initiative, SBA recently announced the creation of a $1 billion Impact Investment Fund through its Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program.  The Impact Fund will invest in distressed areas as well as in emerging sectors such as clean energy. SBA provides up to a 2 to1 match to private capital raised by this fund, partnering with private investors to target “impact” investments.

It’s A Sticky Situation – In The Best Possible Way!

USDA Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales and Ohio Rural Development Director Tony Logan recently paid a visit to Troy, Ohio’s 3 Sigma Corporation to see how the company is utilizing its $2.25 million USDA Business & Industry loan guarantee. Among other things, the funds are helping finance the purchase, transportation and installation of a 78-inch wide aqueous (water-based emulsion) coater, financed through First Financial Bank of Dayton.

In business since 1980, 3 Sigma specializes in custom pressure-sensitive products and specialty coatings. But this technology goes well beyond diaper fasteners and sticky tape! Have you ever noticed those clever little holographic tags inside ball caps and on other wearable items? That’s a 3 Sigma-engineered counterfeit-detection system. The peel-off coupon that doesn’t shred your Sunday morning paper? 3 Sigma. That authentic backstage pass to your favorite rock star’s show? Chances are 3 Sigma may have had a hand in its creation.

Administrator Judith Canales Speaks To Graduating Class of Texas A&M International University

As Administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture- Rural Development’s Business and Cooperative Programs, I travel throughout the country, promoting the President’s and Secretary’s vision of revitalizing rural America.  Of the many talks that I have given this year, one of the most exciting and memorable moments for me occurred on Saturday, May 14, 2011, when I had the honor and privilege of giving two commencement speeches to graduating classes totaling 500 students at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) in Laredo, Texas.

As a native of south Texas, you can imagine how excited I was to have this opportunity to share my educational roots and professional experiences with these inspiring new graduates.  Many of these students are the first in their families to graduate from college; therefore, the experience was not only a major accomplishment for the graduates but a monumental achievement for their families who were present at this event.  So, as I shook the hands of each of the graduates as they came up on stage to receive their diplomas, I couldn’t help but think to myself how very proud I was of these students and their families.

USDA in Ohio Hosts Flex-Fuel Event to Encourage Applications for Renewable Energy Projects

Last month, USDA Rural Development in Ohio hosted another event in the “Flexible Fuels Roadshow” aimed at broadening awareness of Secretary Vilsack’s objective of deploying 10,000 flexible fuel pumps into the nation’s motor fuel delivery system by 2015. As part of USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), eligible applicants can now apply for funding for flex-fuel pumps, in addition to other energy producing and saving projects.  For the first time, gas station and convenience store operators across the country can qualify for a package of REAP funding to support the purchase and installation of flex-fuel pumps and related infrastructure.

According to Rural Business-Cooperative Administrator Judith Canales, grants are available to provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible fuel pumps that offer Americans more renewable energy options. She wanted to make certain that everyone is aware of the variety of assistance USDA Rural Development provides to help businesses create jobs and become more energy efficient. This assistance builds on the Obama Administration’s commitment to win the future by ensuring the nation develops innovative ways to meet our future energy needs.

USDA Administrator Urges Eligible Applicants to Apply for Flex-Fuel Pump Funding

Last week USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Programs Administrator Judith Canales crossed Michigan’s Lower Peninsula at a series of events to highlight flex-fuel options and the availability of renewable energy assistance.

She addressed the Michigan Business Incubator Association’s conference “Michigan’s Changing Economy:  The Role of Business Incubation and New Venture Creation” in East Lansing.

Afterward she met with Michael Petersen, owner of Petersen Oil in Greenville, and a leader in the flexible fuel movement, and discussed how USDA Rural Development can provide funding for flex fuel pumps.  The application deadline is June 15.