Related Rural Blog Posts
- Posted byon June 19, 2013 at 5:40 PM EDT
This week is National Small Business Week. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), along with agencies across the Obama Administration, are hosting events in five cities. These events provide expert advice, mentoring and explore topics ranging from access to capital to exporting. Small businesses across the country can tune into these events via livestream at sba.gov.
America’s small businesses create two out of three net new private sector jobs in our economy. And today more than half of all working Americans either own or work for a small business. Our goal is to ensure that the positive economic benefits of entrepreneurship can reach every corner of the country.
That’s why today the White House Rural Council is announcing new commitments to increase access to capital and to provide additional training and counseling services to rural small businesses and entrepreneurs.
For Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have committed to support a combined $175 million in microloans to small businesses in rural areas, in addition to new business training and counseling opportunities. To date, in FY13, we have already supported nearly $85 million to rural small businesses. Since 2009, USDA and SBA have provided over 19,000 loans and grants, helping more than 60,000 rural small businesses through programs like USDA-Rural Development's Intermediary Relending Program and SBA's Microloan Program.
- Posted byon May 6, 2013 at 9:24 AM EDT
This article is cross-posted on the USDA blog
Participants in the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture, including US Chief Technology Todd Park, listen to opening remarks by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Apr. 29, 2013. (USDA photo by Bob Nichols)
The foundation for such collaboration was set by President Obama’s first ever global development policy which emphasizes broad-based economic growth, innovation, and partnership; and the President’s leadership on food security through the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative and Feed the Future. Then, at the 2012 G-8 Camp David Summit, the G-8 nations, African partners, the private sector and civil society launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and committed to host a conference focused on sharing relevant data to help advance agriculture and ensure food security for people around the world. At the end of the year, the White House hosted a Global Development Data Jam—the first high-level U.S. Government event to feature the potential of Open Data to address global challenges.
Last week’s G-8 “Open Ag Data” conference hosted by the USDA, built on this important groundwork by focusing on ways to ensure that Open Data about agriculture are not only available, but also put to good use. It also highlighted some excellent work that’s already underway and making positive change in the Open Ag Data arena, including:
- Posted byon September 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the United States Department of Agriculture Blog. Please note the deadline for submission has been extended to October 24.
Americans across the country are feeling the impact of the most severe and extensive drought in the last 25 years. We’ve heard from people throughout the United States, asking how they can help. That’s why today we’re launching USDA’s first-ever Drought Code Sprint, a call to developers across the country to use publicly available government information to help farmers, ranchers, and others gain quick and reliable “one-click” access to information on drought conditions and Federal drought relief. Developers can submit their apps using this form by October 24. Some of the most innovative ones will be featured on USDA.gov.
Crops are withering as a result of this historic drought and feed for livestock is growing ever more scarce and expensive. None of us is immune—these conditions are affecting over 50% of the country and almost 80% of our agricultural land. But our rural communities and family farmers and ranchers are on the front lines, and have been the first to feel the drought’s full effects. They are working hard to overcome these hardships, and the Federal Government has stepped up to help.
Of course, apps can’t influence the weather or refill our reservoirs. But they can help farmers and ranchers become more easily aware of the kinds of assistance available to them, and they can simplify the process of taking advantage of these options so relief gets to the people who need it as efficiently as possible.
Some tools we’d love to see include apps that provide “one-click” access to the nearest USDA service centers and available drought programs; county-level drought disaster designations and program eligibility; information on Federal assistance available based on location and sector; types of loans or refinance options available with a handy repayment calculator and eligibility requirements; drought maps; and localized weather outlooks. These are just a few of our ideas but we’re confident that you have even better ones—so get coding!
- USDA Service Center Locator
- USDA Secretarial County Disaster Designations
- Monthly Crop Production Reports
- Weekly Crop Progress and Condition Reports
- Hay Stocks
- National Integrated Drought Information System
- National Water and Climate Center data including SNOwpack TELemetry Network (SNOTEL) and Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN)
We encourage developers to use other freely available resources on safety.data.gov or the USDA website as well—including Agriculture Weather and Drought Outlook blog posts and Drought Assistance Programs and Information sites—and any other data resources that would be helpful to those affected by the drought.
Here is a great opportunity to apply American ingenuity and technology to the cause of helping America’s farms. We look forward to seeing your ideas.
Amanda Eamich is Director of Web Communications at the United States Department of Agriculture
Brian Forde is Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer at the Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Posted byon September 12, 2012 at 4:02 PM EDT
On Thursday, September 6, 2012, I had the honor of celebrating the beginning of a new era in Dillon County, South Carolina as Dillon opened its newest middle school.
Three and a half years ago, Dillon’s school system was spotlighted when Ty’Sheoma Bethea wrote a letter to President Obama. Ty’Sheoma’s letter inspired the President and his Administration to help rebuild her school, and her letter reminded all Americans of what we can accomplish by working collectively toward common goals.
In 2010, this Administration awarded a $35.8 million loan and a $4 million grant to the Dillon County School Facilities Corporation to finance new construction and renovations for four schools in three districts in South Carolina. These United States Department of Agriculture funds were made possible by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which has assisted communities like Dillon across America prepare for and invest in the future.
The new middle school replaces J.V. Martin Junior High School and is Dillon’s first new school in about 40 years. Ms. Bethea’s letter spoke to the President’s belief that a strong country only exists when we equip our children with a quality education, so they are prepared to win the future.
- Posted byon August 15, 2012 at 3:22 PM EDT
A year ago today, President Obama kicked off a bus tour to meet with people throughout America's heartland for discussions about the economy. At townhalls in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois, the President discussed ways to strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring in local communities and took questions on renewable energy, health care, and Social Security.
Check out a full recap here.
- Posted byon August 14, 2012 at 3:31 PM EDT
USDA employees at the Tipton Service Center in Iowa are making impressive contributions to this year’s Feds Feed Families campaign. USDA Rural Development employee Mike Boyle reported food donations exceeding 750 pounds for the month of June and 1,760 pounds in July – just a portion of what is expected to be distributed throughout Tipton and surrounding eastern Iowa communities as part of the food drive this summer.
“We’re off to a good start,” said Boyle. “Last season, we donated approximately five tons of food to local non-profits. Our goal now is to top that.”
What makes these efforts unique is that most of the food pledged comes from a local source, Tipton’s Hardacre Community Garden. Boyle and a small legion of volunteers donate their free time to grow fresh produce for neighbors in need. With hands in the dirt, these gardening enthusiasts cultivate a wide array of healthy fruits and vegetables. What’s grown is donated as part of the People’s Garden Initiative year-round ‘Share Your Harvest’ effort which directly supports the Feds Feed Families Food Drive.
The immediate recipients of the harvest are local individuals, churches, and nonprofit organizations such as the Cedar Manor nursing care center and the Bread of Life Food Pantry. These donations provide for those who may otherwise be unable to access fresh foods and help to build a healthy community food system.