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Rural

On National Rural Health Day, Emergency Healthcare Starts Home

North Dakota is a remarkable agricultural state and very rural. Farms and ranches dominate hundreds of miles of roads, and distances between services can be great. With so much wide-open space, our first responders and medical facilities play critical roles in ensuring the health and safety of our agricultural producers. Recently, their expertise and professionalism saved the life of a coworker and good friend.

Why Reconnecting Our Rural Communities Matters

You may be reading this blog entry from your desk workstation, or perhaps a laptop in a coffee shop. You might even be perusing this on your smartphone. It’s a common, everyday occurrence that can easily be taken for granted. Unfortunately, in many parts of rural South Carolina – it’s not only a luxury to have broadband internet access, it’s not even possible!

A High-Speed Boost for Rural Tennessee

If you’ve ever had to travel to get access to the internet – whether to a library or a restaurant in a nearby town, or any other community resource that has that critical connection to the world of information – you understand the excitement we have here in Tennessee as the first state to announce a project funded through USDA’s ReConnect rural broadband infrastructure program.

Co-ops: By the Community, For the Community

Tina Borg knows all too well the challenges of limited internet access.

At home, her family in Barnes County, N.D., often relied on a cell phone hotspot. However, their ability to access information was frequently constrained by their phone plan’s data limits. Tina routinely had to drive to the next town to access the internet, or she had to rely upon whatever books happened to be available for the four children that she home schools.

October is National Co-Op Month

Happy National Co-Op Month! It’s reason to celebrate because in America there are more than 40,000 cooperatives of all types, supporting jobs that provide more than $25 billion in wages. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin (PDF, 2.7 MB), funded in part by USDA, cooperatives have an estimated 350 million members. (Many people belong to more than one cooperative.)

Improving Dental Health in Central Maine

A standing-room-only crowd packed into a recent open house celebrating the new facility for Waterville Community Dental in Kennebec County, Maine. The overflowing room was a perfect indication of the immense level of community support for the clinic’s important services and mission. Waterville Community Dental’s small and dedicated staff serve nearly 4,000 patients from 11 surrounding rural counties annually. Seventy-five percent of these patients are children.

Reflecting on One Year of Innovation at Rural Development

Last year, Secretary Perdue created the Rural Development Innovation Center, a team devoted to partnership development, regulatory reform, data analysis, and risk management. With a mission of coordinating resources and providing creative solutions for our rural customer, the Innovation Center is designed to hard wire innovation into our program delivery. In recognition of the Innovation Center’s first anniversary, I’d like to share a few reflections on a year of transformation in Rural Development through innovation.

e-Connectivity: A Foundation for Rural Prosperity

In small towns from Maine to California, access to reliable, high-speed internet is a foundation for rural prosperity. From quality health care to advanced education and precision ag technology at the local farm equipment dealer, e-connectivity is a lifeline to the modern economy. And, yet we know that a significant number of rural Americans are not connected.