A number of farmers and rural businesses will be able to lower their energy costs, thanks to funding from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. Locally, N&L Pork near Knox will get $20,000 to buy and install a 111-kilowatt solar array. The USDA says that will save enough energy to power 14 homes a year and lower the business’s annual energy costs by more than $15,000.Continue reading
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s stepping up its efforts to modernize rural America’s water infrastructure. USDA Rural Development says it has more than $4 billion in loans available for rural communities with up to 10,000 residents. That’s a significant funding increase from last year.
More than 100 rural infrastructure projects across the country, including one here in Starke County, are being funded thanks in part to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.
The Town of North Judson received a $3,892,000 loan from the USDA to assist with their sewer improvement project. Continue reading
The City of Knox is adding another house to its blight elimination effort. Mayor Dennis Estok told the city council Tuesday the owner of 202 North Pearl Street has agreed to sell the home to the city for eventual demolition. Continue reading
Giving residents easy access to healthy food choices is a challenge in many of the rural communities in the local area, but during the past year, officials in Starke County found a way to keep one town’s grocery store open. Continue reading
Specialty crop producers who applied for enhanced crop insurance this year have a deadline approaching to turn in necessary paperwork. Conservation compliance forms must be filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture by June 1. Farmers who do not complete the form will not be eligible for federal crop insurance payments. The 2014 farm bill gave specialty crop producers the option to apply for enhanced crop coverage through the federal Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, commonly known as NAP. In order to receive payments, farmers must certify they will not plant crops on erodible land unless previously approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Applicants must also agree not to drain, dredge, level or fill any wetlands on their property. Continue reading
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing for what they predict to be the nation’s largest corn crop in history and third largest soybean crop just one year after a drought that devastated crops. In the USDA’s annual August crop production report, the statistics projected a national corn crop of 13.8 billion bushels on 154.4 bushels per acre, 28 percent higher than last year’s 10.7 billion bushels. The previous record was set in 2009 with 13.09 billion bushels.
If you know someone interested in serving on a local U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency County Committee, now is the time to submit their name as a nominee! From June 17 through Aug. 1, nominations are being accident to run for a position on local USDA Farm Service Agency County Committees. Nearly everyone who participates or cooperates in an FSA program and is of legal voting age can be a candidate.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping lead the way with a commitment to ushering in the new era for American energy– an economy fueled by locally-grown and alternative energy sources designed and produced by American workers. In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, he laid out a blueprint for such an economy, which requires the safe and responsible production of our oil and natural gas resources.