WASHINGTON, March 10, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced 36 appointments to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board.  All appointees will serve 3-year terms beginning immediately.

"These appointees represent a cross section of the beef industry and I am confident that beef producers and importers of cattle, beef and beef products will be well served by them," said Vilsack.

In 2009, according to USDA statistics, there were an estimated 950,000 farms with cattle representing approximately 93.7 million head of cattle at the beginning of 2010.  Top producing states included Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, California and Oklahoma.

Newly appointed members representing cattle producers are:  Barbara S. Jackson, Ariz.; Willem Bylsma, Calif.; Darrel C. Sweet, Calif.; Robert W. Buck, Colo.; Jeffrey L. Clausen, Iowa; Dean A. Black, Iowa; Daniel P. Herrmann, Kan.; Larry M. Olten, Kan.; Genevieve D. Lyons, La.; Andrew B. Salinas, Mich.; John C. Schafer, Minn.; David M. McCormick, Miss.; Kevin H. Frankenbach, Mo.; Kristy L. Lage, Neb.; Judith A. Reece, Neb.; Annalyn Settelmeyer, Nev.; Tamara A. Ogilvie, N.M.; Ernest B. Harris, N.C; Thomas A. Woods, Okla.; James C. Kesler, S.C.; Danni K. Beer, S.D.; Linda J. Gilbert, S.D.; Robert J. Reviere, Jr., Tenn.; Larry B. Pratt, Texas; Andrea W. Reed, Texas; D. Rudolph Tate, Texas; Bruce D. Dopslauf, Texas; Laurie L. Munns, Utah; Jane E. Clifford, Vt.; Larry D. Echols, W.VA; Martin A. Andersen, Wis.; Randall A. Geiger, Wis.; and Spencer A. Ellis, Wyo.

Newly appointed members representing importers are:  Alberto J. Senosiain, Fla.; Andrew Banchi, Penn.; and Scott A. Hansen, Va.

The Board oversees collection of $1-per-head on all cattle sold in the United States, and $1-per-head equivalent on imported cattle, beef and beef products. In addition, the Board contracts with established national, non-profit, industry-governed organizations to implement programs of promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications.

The 106-member Board is authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. The secretary selects the appointees nominated by beef, veal, dairy and importers certified organizations.

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service oversees operations of the Board.

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that utilities in seven states have been selected to receive funds that will create jobs and new business opportunities in rural America.

"Providing community development assistance, education, training and technical support to the residents of rural communities is critical to the Obama Administration's effort to build a strong and sustainable economy," said Vilsack.  "This funding will create good jobs and new business development opportunities."

For example, Tideland Electric Membership Corporation in Washington County, N.C., has been selected to receive a $740,000 loan and $300,000 grant to help construct a manufacturing facility in an industrial park.  The new business will provide medical manufacturing jobs.

In Miner County, S.D., the Heartland Consumers Power District has been selected to receive a $740,000 loan and $300,000 grant to provide funding for the construction of a facility to provide training opportunities for workers in the renewable energy industry.

The funding announced today is provided under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, administered by USDA Rural Development.  The program provides interest free loans and grants to local utilities that re-lend money to local businesses for projects that will create and retain jobs in rural areas. These funds are not provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the loan or grant agreement. The following is a complete list of recipients:

Illinois

  • Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative: $740,000 loan; to provide financing for the Fairfield Memorial Hospital's 25,000 square-foot medical arts building.

Iowa

  • Northwest Telephone Cooperative Association: $500,000 loan; to assist with expansion plans of business in West Bend
  • Grundy County Rural Electric Cooperative: $740,000 loan; to assist in the construction of a 15,000 square-foot data management center
  • Citizens Mutual Telephone Cooperative: $300,000 grant; to fund expansion and equipment upgrade for the Davis County Hospital
  • Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative, Inc.: $300,000 grant; to construct new high school in the Davis County Community School District
  • Consumers Energy: $300,000 grant; to finance the construction of a daycare facility in the community of Gladbrook
  • Independence Light & Power: $300,000 grant; to assist the Buchanan County Health Center
  • Corn Belt Power Cooperative: $300,000 grant; to fund public infrastructure project
  • Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative: $300,000 grant; to assist in the construction of a community building

Nebraska

  • Twin Valleys Public Power District: $300,000 grant; to assist in the construction of the Tri Valley Health System hospital addition
  • Loup Valleys Rural Public Power District: $300,000 grant; renovations to Valley County Courthouse

North Carolina

  • Tideland Electric Membership Corporation: $740,000 loan; $300,000 grant; to construct 20,000 square-foot manufacturing facility

Oklahoma

  • Caddo Electric Cooperative, Inc: $150,000 loan; to construct new office facilities for tornado-damaged accounting firm.

South Dakota

  • Heartland Consumers Power District: $740,000 loan; $300,000 grant; to construct the Maroney Training Complex

Tennessee

  • Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative: $740,000 loan;  to construct addition and renovation to the Hardin Medical Center-Cancer Treatment Center

USDA Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facilities programs. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $130 billion in loans and loan guarantees.



USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

[Davenport, IA] - March 4, 2010 - America's Incredible Pizza Company (AIPC) announced today it will host a job fair.  The event will be hosted on March 12th and 13th from 8 am to 8pm.  It will be located at 2130 East Kimberly Road in Davenport, Iowa. The company expects to hire over 100 employees.

Job seekers should be prepared for onsite interviews, dress the part; first impressions are very important!  "AIPC is eager to hire smiling faces for all positions including Customer Service (Cashiers, Party Hosts, Bussers), Food Service (cooks, dough room, pizza line, and buffet attendants), and Game Room Attendants (Attraction, Customer Service, and Redemption / Prize Counter personnel).  Full and part time positions will be available. Two forms of ID should be brought to the job fair.

Job seekers may fill out an application online at www.incrediblepizza.com/davenport and click on "Employment."

The new 38,000-square-foot family entertainment center located in Davenport's Spring Village shopping center will be all-indoor, smoke and alcohol free, and offer seating for hundreds of people. Four 50s-themed dining rooms will compliment the facility with private rooms available for birthday parties, corporate meetings and other group events.  The fairgrounds game room will contain attractions like Laser Tag, Mini-Bowling, Mini-Golf, Bumper Cars and nearly 100 video and redemption games. The huge fun center will employ nearly 150 local people when it opens.

Executive Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Chris Brewer said, "We're seeking enthusiastic people who love having fun while they work."

- END -

Impact of National Debt 

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Friday, February 26, 2010

Politicians don't need to be mind readers these days to keep tabs on the public pulse.  While the U.S. economy inches towards recovery, millions of unemployed workers still search for jobs, households cut back on spending, dip into savings or fall deeper into debt and homeowners watch home prices waver. A measurement of consumer confidence sank again in February indicating Americans feel lingering skepticism about the economy.

Washington recently approved raising the debt ceiling to an unprecedented $14.3 trillion. Foreign investors now own nearly half of the publicly held debt. As every small business owner and family farmer knows, financing debt comes with strings attached, including interest and repayment schedules. Under the President's proposed budget, annual interest payments on the national debt will more than double, from $250 to $516 billion, over the next four years.  That will surpass annual spending for non-security, domestic programs such as education, housing, and medical research. The government's borrowing spree also puts upward pressure on interest rates as Uncle Sam competes with the private sector for available credit.

That's especially bad news for the primary job-creation machine of the U.S. economy.  Small businesses depend on affordable credit to expand and hire new workers.  Last year, U.S. banks had the largest lending decline since 1942. The FDIC says 140 banks failed last year with even more projected to be at risk in 2010.  With banks and the federal budget clinging to the edge of a cliff, it's no small wonder consumers have a death grip on their wallets.

America is one generation away from the federal budget being consumed entirely by entitlement programs and interest on the national debt.  If Washington continues to ride the rails of business-as-usual, spending on just three entitlement programs alone - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - will lay claim to every tax dollar collected.

Budget forecasters have long predicted a fiscal apocalypse heading Washington's way.  Historically, our nation's public retirement and health care programs have been financed primarily through payroll taxes, with each generation of workers paying for those who preceded them. But the retirement of the baby boom generation will overwhelm the relatively smaller labor force and their taxable wages.

With one party controlling the two elected branches of the federal government, the President and Congress last year tried to redirect one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The proposed reforms would have essentially nationalized health care, creating a massive new taxpayer-subsidized health care entitlement.  Rising public discontent helped put the brakes on the overhaul.

Choosing to re-launch another attempt at wholesale changes to the health insurance system, the President unveiled in February a job-killing, anti-investment tax to help pay for the vast new public subsidy. After lamenting a deficit of trust in the State of the Union address in January that primarily focused on creating jobs and growing the economy, so it's puzzling the White House is leading another charge up the hill to extend the federal government's reach into America's health care system and your pocketbook.

Taxpayers already are on the hook for a staggering climb up a sky-high mountain of debt. The slippery slope of borrow-and-spend has led us to this national cliffhanger.  Voters now are paying close attention to see whether Washington reins in spending or throws taxpayers under the bus.

As the Ranking Member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, I'll continue my work as a watchdog for taxpayers. Funding new health care entitlement programs with tax hikes that get in the way of job creation and economic growth won't help the next generation scale our legacy of debt or achieve the American Dream.

Feb 26, 2010

He calls the hold up of benefits an abuse of Senate procedure

An estimated 75,000 Iowans will lose federal unemployment benefits Sunday, Feb. 28th


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today said he intends to fight the hold that has been placed on a Senate effort to extend unemployment insurance to approximately 1 million unemployed workers and other expiring programs.  An estimated 75,000 Iowans will see their federal unemployment benefits expire over the weekend as a result of the hold.  Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

"We need to act quickly to extend the safety net and make sure laid-off workers have access to unemployment benefits through the end of the year, at least," said Harkin. "It is heartbreaking to see political games being played with the lives of hardworking people who are struggling to find a job, particularly when there has been strong bipartisan support in the past to extend unemployment benefits and other vital safety net programs. 

"Unfortunately this is emblematic of the larger issue plaguing the Senate today: abuse of Senate procedure.  We saw it in November as well.  While Senate Republicans play games, families are sitting around their kitchen tables wondering how they will make ends meet. 

"I intend to do everything in my power to fight this and hope other Senators will join me in this effort."

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is waging a lone battle to block the chamber from voting to extend unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies for the jobless, highway and transit programs, the compulsory copyright license used by satellite TV providers and the federal flood insurance program for 30 days.  In November, Senate Republicans used a similar delay tactic to filibuster a motion to proceed to a bill to extend unemployment compensation.  After delaying and grinding Senate business to a halt for nearly a month, the bill passed 97-1.

Harkin and other Senators are working on a package that is likely to include a year-long extension of unemployment benefits as well as other supports.

###
 

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, said he's stunned that 56 percent of able-bodied adults who receive welfare benefits are receiving zero education, job training, job search, substance abuse counseling or community service activities.

"This is a waste of potential and opportunity," Grassley said.  "Those receiving welfare benefits should be involved in education or job training to improve their economic prospects and income security.  Either states are failing these individuals, or they're failing themselves by not taking advantage of what's available to them."

Grassley highlighted the latest data released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.  The department released the 2008 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participation data, the most recent information available.  The data show that despite minor improvements to encourage states to engage families receiving welfare in meaningful activities included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, states are failing to engage work-ready adults in education, job training, job search, substance abuse counseling or community service activities.  According to the latest data, states report that 56 percent of able-bodied adults are engaging in zero job- or education-related activity.  The report is available here; the 56 percent figure is in Table 8B:

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/particip/2008/index2008.htm

"This lack of activity is especially troubling during the tough economy," Grassley said.  "Welfare is an integral part of the social safety net.  The benefits are meant to be temporary, and welfare programs are supposed to help adults move away from welfare and onto something permanent.  During the bad economy, we can't afford to let any more people fall behind.  We should be using this time to prepare people for economic recovery."

Grassley said fostering a cycle of dependence where families receive welfare absent any activity or responsibility is not consistent with the landmark 1996 welfare reform bill.  A key principle of the bipartisan welfare bill was replacing an uncapped entitlement to welfare with a temporary program that encouraged work and work-related activities.

"There's obviously a lot more work to be done to ensure that families receiving welfare have the opportunity to make the transition from dependence to self-sufficiency," Grassley said.  "The authorization for TANF and related programs ends at the end of this fiscal year.  I call on the congressional leadership and the Administration to work with me this year to enact a bipartisan reauthorization of these programs that fixes the elements that aren't working for the people they're meant to help."

-30-

Senator Chuck Grassley Statement Submitted to the Record

Partisan and Incomplete Processing of Bipartisan Economic Incentives Package

Monday, Feb. 22, 2010

The Senate is about to engage in a cloture vote on the Senate Democratic Leadership's third stimulus bill.  What I find surprising is that what we are about to vote on indisputably and absolutely belongs to the majority leader.  That is to say we are not going to vote on a bipartisan package that I put together with Finance Committee Chairman Baucus.  I was under the impression that the Senate Democratic Leadership was genuine in its desire to work on a bipartisan basis, but clearly I was mistaken.  Although the Senate Democratic Leader was highly involved in the development of a bipartisan bill, he arbitrarily decided to replace it with a bill he hopes to jam through the Senate.

As much as I was surprised by the Senate Democratic Leader's disregard for bipartisanship, I am even more surprised by the explanations given by him and his cohorts.

Perhaps the most significant change between the bipartisan package Chairman Baucus and I helped put together and the package we will be voting to move to is that a package of expired tax provisions has been removed.  Normally referred to as extenders, these generally very popular and certainly bipartisan provisions have been extended several times over the past few years.

What is surprising is that hyper-partisan members of the majority have suddenly decided that the tax extenders are partisan pork for Republicans.

A representative sample comes from one report, which describes the bipartisan bill as "an extension of soon-to-expire tax breaks that are highly beneficial to major corporations, known as tax extenders, as well as other corporate giveaways that had been designed to win GOP support."  Just today the Washington Post includes this attribution to the Senate Democratic Leadership.  From the Post:

" "We're pretty close," {the majority leader} said Friday during a television appearance in Nevada, adding that he thought quote, "fat cats", unquote, would have benefitted too much from the larger Baucus-Grassley bill."

The portrait being painted by certain members of the majority, echoed without critical examination in some press reports, is wildly inaccurate.

For one thing, the tax extenders include provisions such as the deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses and also the deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers.  If you are going to school or if you are a grade school teacher, the Senate Democratic Leadership thinks you are a fat cat so you are on your own.  If your house was destroyed in a recent natural disaster and you still need any of the temporary disaster relief provisions contained in the extenders package, too bad, because helping you would amount to a corporate giveaway in the eyes of some.

The tax extenders have been routinely passed repeatedly because they are bipartisan and very popular.  Democrats have consistently voted in favor of extending these tax provisions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a very strong statement upon House passage of tax extenders in December of 2009, saying this was, quote, "good for businesses, good for homeowners, and good for our communities," end quote.  December of 2009 was not very long ago.  In 2006, the then-Democratic Leader released a blistering statement, quote, "after Bush Republicans in the Senate blocked passage of critical tax extenders," end quote, because, quote, "American families and businesses are paying the price because this Do Nothing Republican Congress refuses to extend important tax breaks," end quote.  I ask unanimous consent that both of these statements be printed in the record in their entirety.

Recent bipartisan votes in the Senate on extending expiring tax provisions have come in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent; and the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004, which originally passed the Senate by voice vote although the conference report received 92 votes in favor and a whopping 3 against.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, extension of several of these provisions go back even further, including the Tax Relief Extension Act of 1999, which again passed the Senate by unanimous consent  but lost 1 vote on the conference report.

Blinded and dazed by the power of their now not-so-super majority, certain Democrats have in the last few weeks turned against the extenders.  One Democrat said, quote, "Our side isn't sure that the Republicans are real interested in developing good policy and to move forward together.  Instead, they are more inclined to play rope-a-dope again.  My own view is, let's test them," end quote.  Another member of this large 59-vote majority exclaimed, quote, "It looks more like a tax bill than a jobs bill to me.  What the Democratic Caucus is going to put on the floor is something that's more focused on job creation than on tax breaks," end quote.

The only explanation for this behavior is that certain senators have decided that it serves a deeply partisan goal to slander what have been for several years bipartisan and popular tax provisions benefitting many different people.

Today's Washington Post article I quoted from earlier includes a statement from a Senate Democratic leadership aide saying that, quote, "No decisions have been made, but anyone expecting us immediately to go back to a bill that includes tax extenders will be sorely disappointed," end quote.

Having put their heads into the sand, this chamber's Democratic leaders seem intent on keeping them there. I appeal to all of you to vote against the Democratic Leadership's effort today to jam the Senate.  A vote for the Senate Democratic Leadership's cloture motion is a vote to foreclose an opportunity to improve the bill.  It also is a vote to forbid any corrections to mistakes in the bill.  And there is a significant mistake in the Senate Democratic Leadership's bill.  The bill as currently written would allow employers of illegal workers to benefit from the payroll tax holiday.  We should correct that mistake with an amendment.  The Senate Democratic Leadership's posture prohibits this correction.

Either the Democratic leaders are playing partisan politics with tax extenders, or they don't understand the worth of the provisions to the economy, including job retention and creation.  The biodiesel industry alone says 23,000 jobs are at risk due to the biodiesel tax credit being allowed to expire.  Those workers are not fat cats.

And in case anyone thinks biodiesel is something only Iowans worry about, these green jobs are in forty-four of the fifty states.  There are 24 facilities in Texas.  There are 15 facilities in Iowa.  There are 6 facilities in Illinois and 6 in Missouri.  There are 4 facilities in Washington.  Ohio has 11 facilities.  There are 5 facilities in Indiana.  There are 3 facilities each in Mississippi and South Carolina.  There are 7 facilities in Pennsylvania and 4 in Arkansas.  New Jersey has 2 facilities.

There is one facility in North Dakota. Only 6 of the 50 states do not have some biodiesel production.  They are Alaska, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wyoming.  The other forty-four states have some biodiesel presence.   I ask unanimous consent to put in the record an article from the Erie, Pennsylvania, newspaper, describing the struggles of a local biodiesel plant.

So we need to turn away from talk of fat cats. We need to get back to work on the bipartisan package that was in the works until the Senate Democratic Leadership's dramatic change in direction.  Many people who are not fat cats or a part of large corporations are counting on these provisions being extended, and they are counting on their elected representatives to work together, as we were doing, to get the job done.

###

Who: Vollara

What: Learn how to connect and find hope both financially and physically. Come experience "Green technologies" by smelling, tasting and feeling Better Living Products.

When: Friday, March 5th, 6-9 pm and Saturday March 6th, 9 am- 5 pm

Where: The Lodge 900 Spruce Hills Dr. Bettendorf , IA 52722

(Quad Cities, IL /IA) A new company based in Dallas, TX - VOLLARA - will be sharing with the Quad Cities community how they can experience: uncompromising health, freedom to hope, and the ability to become "difference makers" for the community/planet. Bill Coyle, Vice-President of Sales, will be at The Lodge on March 5th and 6th to launch this global opportunity in the Quad Cities.

Vollara offers a comprehensive range of products in three categories: weight management, wellness supplements, and environmental purity. All of these products together form the basis for Uncompromising Health, a platform on which Vollara's products are based. "Uncompromising Health" is about becoming healthy from the inside out and the outside in.

The Vollara products offer complete health choices, not partial ones; choices to purify and enrich the air you breathe, the surfaces you touch, the water you drink. Moreover, there are choices to support one's immune system, to strengthen one's body, and to shape one's physique for optimal resistance and wellness. Furthermore, their proven business systems empower people to command their financial footing, to bring security to their lives, to provide for themselves and their loved ones and to help all of us share and care for this precious planet we have been blessed with.

Kelly Davis & Barb Catlin - Business Developers and local leaders with Vollara states, "Make 2010 the year to become well - both physically and financially and come experience what Vollara has to offer. This event on the 5th and 6th of March will allow our community to participate in the making of history as this global company launches here in the Quad Cities."

###

Back to Work Act will benefit small businesses that hire workers who have been unemployed for more than 60 days

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced legislation today that will spur small business job creation by creating a payroll tax cut for small business owners who hire previously unemployed workers. The Back to Work Act will exempt small businesses from paying the employer's share of the social security tax for the rest of 2010 if they hire workers who have been unemployed for more than 60 days prior to employment. The Back to Work Act is similar to bipartisan legislation proposed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

"It goes without saying that America's small businesses are the backbone of our economy," Braley said. "As we continue to develop policies to strengthen our economy and put America's middle class families back to work, small business development will be one of the keys to our success.  This payroll tax cut is win-win, giving small business owners the help they need to create good-paying jobs for unemployed workers."

The Back to Work Act provides small business owners with greater incentives to hire workers for long-term positions, providing additional tax incentives for businesses that retain employees for 52 consecutive weeks. The payroll tax cut provides greater incentive for employers to move quickly to hire new workers because the credit expires at the end of the year.  The sooner employees are hired, the more time small business owners have to benefit from the credit.

# # #

First Year Analysis Show Recovery Act's Successes
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2010 - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture highlighted the successes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). One year after the passage of ARRA, evidence is clear - and growing by the day - that the Recovery Act is working to cushion the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and lay a new foundation for economic growth.

"President Obama's Recovery Act has helped create jobs and lay a new foundation for economic growth during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  "USDA has used Recovery Act funding create badly-needed jobs and stimulate local economies, help farmers and rural businesses make it through tough times, ensure that struggling families can put food on the table, and build and revitalize critical infrastructure in rural communities across America."

Since the Recovery Act was signed into law a year ago, USDA has moved quickly to get dollars out the door.  Aside from funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is allocated on a mandatory basis each month, USDA has announced the vast majority of its remaining $7.9 billion to support more than 90,000 grants, loans, and other job-creating projects. In the first year implementing the Recovery Act, USDA has:

·         Provided over $100 billion in tax relief for American businesses and families, including tax cuts for 95 percent of working families through the Making Work Pay tax Credit.  And tax relief is expected to nearly double in the coming months.

  • Helped over 38 million Americans who need food assistance by providing an average increase in benefits of $80 per month to low-income households of four.  This funding is a fast-acting economic stimulus as every $1 in food benefits generates up to $1.84 in total economic activity, supporting jobs at all levels of the food chain.
  • Helped 85,420 rural Americans purchase or repair their homes with affordable loans while simultaneously stimulating the economy, and creating jobs in the construction and real estate sectors.
  • Helped create private sector jobs protecting rural communities from large wildfires, while improving the health of our forests, water and air resources.  We provided $500 million to treat over 134,000 acres of forest to reduce the risk of wildfire.
  • Provided 2,636 loans to farmers and ranchers help them purchase the farm equipment, feed, seed, and fuel they needed to keep their farms operating and support jobs in the rural economy.  Approximately half of these loans went to beginning farmers and 25% to socially disadvantaged farmers.
  • Created green jobs at plants that use of wood from forest restoration activities to generate renewable energy.  Grants worth $50 million went to projects that will power 223,000 homes.
  • Helped more than 5,000 schools purchase equipment to improve the safe and healthy meals they serve to children.

In the coming months, USDA will be implementing additional programs and projects as weather begins to thaw, and construction projects are expected to break ground across the country.  In 2010, USDA will continue to invest in projects to help get Americans and the economy back to work:

  • By bringing broadband internet to an estimated 1.2 million households, 230,000 businesses, and 7,800 anchor institutions like hospitals and schools across rural America, in one largest job generating efforts to date.  This $3.4 billion investment will give businesses access to global markets and spur rural economic development.
  • By helping 300 rural businesses grow, innovate and create jobs, providing $900 million on top of $570 million already at work helping 160 businesses across the country.
  • With the construction and improvement of hundreds of community facilities, such as police and fire stations, and libraries in rural America.  We will improve access to health care for 3 million rural residents, and educational services for 2.5 million residents. We will provide nearly $750 million on top of $470 million already announced for more than 850 projects.
  • By constructing and rebuilding water and waste water systems in more than 200 communities affecting 1 million rural Americans.  We will provide nearly $1 billion on top of more than $2 billion already announced for projects in 530 communities.

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