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Rural

NIFA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Provides Competitive Grants for Mentoring, Education, and Assistance

Interest in agricultural careers is enjoying a resurgence in America. While there are many excellent opportunities in farming and ranching, beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training, technical assistance, and outreach. For those within their first 10 years of operation, it’s vital beginning farmers and ranchers have access to capital, land, and information to help improve their operations’ profitability and sustainability

RD’s ReConnect Program: Supporting Agricultural Innovation by Bridging the Digital Divide

Often when we think of rural broadband, we think about how internet access has revolutionized the way Americans consume media, conduct business, learn, and receive medical care via telemedicine. Over the last two decades, USDA has been making significant progress in connecting rural communities to the same telecommunications infrastructure enjoyed by their urban counterparts. However, the untapped potential of high-speed broadband also extends into the new technologies farmers and ranchers use to feed and clothe the world.

During COVID-19, Central PA is Fighting Hunger One Bus at a Time

In 2018, Mel Curtis, Branch Director of the Moshannon Valley YMCA of Centre County and Pauline Rabb, CEO with Cen-Clear Child Services, joined forces to retrofit a 72-passenger bus with a kitchen and appliances and dubbed it The Travelin’ Table Mobile Feeding Bus. The initiative was created to serve the children of Centre and Clearfield Counties not only with food, but also medical and dental care from Penn State University. In addition, the bus offers educational enrichment and physical activities.

Hope One Mobile Unit on the Frontlines of COVID-19 Fight with Rural Development’s Support

I knew that the delivery of the Hope One Mobile Unit in March was going to be an exciting event. Born out of USDA Rural Development’s (USDA RD) partnership with the Hansen Foundation, the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office and AtlantiCare, and with the help of a $134,000 Community Facilities Grant in the summer of 2018, Hope One was expected to be staffed by medical and law enforcement personnel who would provide recovery services to people struggling with opioid addiction.

Three RD Partners in Virginia Meet the Challenge of COVID-19

During COVID-19, I’ve been touched to see so many examples of Americans making sacrifices for the health and safety of their fellow citizens. I’m proud to say that rural Virginians also extended helping hands in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to share three such examples of our Rural Development partners who are combining compassion with ingenuity to serve their neighbors.

A Rural School Adjusts to Serve Its Students During COVID-19

USDA Rural Development provides opportunities to enhance education in rural communities. We can see these investments throughout the state and I’m proud of the contributions that team South Dakota is making to support education initiatives and so much more.

RD Customer’s Cloud-Based Ecommerce Product Helps Farmers Reach New Markets During COVID-19

As the new Acting Administrator for USDA Rural Development’s Rural Housing Service, I know that one of the best parts of working in rural America is the relationships we build with our customers, relationships that often span many years. I was fortunate to see these relationships in action in my most recent role as State Director for Virginia. It’s rewarding to watch a customer’s efforts make an impact on the community they serve. And it’s especially gratifying to see a customer experience dramatic growth and begin serving communities beyond their geographical area. That is the case for the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability (VAFAIRS), specifically, their ecommerce program, Lulus Local Food.

Emergency Telehealth Network Working Together Amid COVID-19

I was excited to see Augusta University Research Institute featured on the local news for the phenomenal work they are accomplishing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Augusta University is using telemedicine equipment that they purchased with a grant from USDA Rural Development to run an emergency telehealth hub in rural Georgia. The hub connected five hospitals to diagnostic and educational experts at Augusta University. The goal is to help Emergency Room doctors access highly trained healthcare professionals by telemedicine and to shorten travel for rural patients to reach care and, ultimately, to improve health-related quality of life.