Posts Tagged ‘USDA’

Nevada Affirms U.S. Agriculture Department Drought Disaster Declaration For All 17 Counties

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 5:43 pm July 23rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada today affirmed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s automatic drought disaster declaration, which applies to all 17 Nevada counties.

The disaster designation makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency loans. Additionally, today the USDA announced new flexibility and assistance in the agency’s major conservation programs to get much-needed help to livestock producers and plans to encourage crop insurance companies to provide a short grace period for farmers on unpaid insurance premiums.

Author: Arthur Rothstein via Wikimedia Commons.

USDA’s announcement allows flexibility within four programs: the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and the Federal Crop Insurance Program.

According to the Nevada State Division of Emergency Management, Division of Water Resources and the State Climatology Office, current conditions in Nevada primarily affect agriculture, wildlife and wildfire. The conditions are not affecting municipal water systems, groundwater availability for municipal water systems or future commercial economic development.

“I encourage affected Nevada farmers and ranchers to contact the federal Farm Service Agency’s state office for assistance,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “At a state level, I have authorized the activation of the State Emergency Operations Center as an information center and to help coordinate the response. Additionally, I’ve directed state agencies to work with the federal government to ensure Nevadans receive the assistance they need.”

Affected Nevada farmers and ranchers can contact the federal Farm Service Agency state office in Reno at (775) 784-5411, extension 117, or on the web.

Rural Nevada Community Gets Needed Help from Low-Interest USDA Loan

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:05 am October 8th, 2011

A federal effort to pump affordable loan money into rural communities across the nation is bringing the city of Caliente a pumper truck and a rescue vehicle with a mini-pumper, and not a moment too soon.

Photo of Caliente Historic Railroad Station from settlerscabin.com

Due to a $120,000 loan and $15,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the city’s all-volunteer fire department will soon have reliable working vehicles for the 60-odd medical and fire calls they make each month.

Caliente volunteer fire chief George Rowe said the timing of the loan was welcome because the city’s existing gas-powered fire truck is more than 30 years old and on its last leg.

On a recent fire call, the vehicle had mechanical difficulties and could not make it to the site.

“Had we not gotten the loan, it probably would have been another five to six years before we’d have had enough money to purchase the vehicles,” said Rowe. “The large pumper truck would not have held out.”

Rowe said he first got wind of the possible availability of federal funds this past July when he ran into a USDA representative who was visiting Caliente Mayor Keith Larson’s office to discuss and evaluate local needs.

“The mayor was great to work with, and I just can’t thank the USDA enough,” said Rowe, who is also a certified EMT along with many of the 35 fire department volunteers who together protect and serve the community.

The population of Caliente, located in east Lincoln County, is around 1,250 within the city limits, but the city’s fire fighters respond to calls in unincorporated areas as far as 30 miles away.

The money to purchase two used vehicles is being lent to the city at a 4.25 interest rate over a period of 12 years. Typically, such a low-interest loan with a longer term would be unavailable for the purchase of used equipment. This can be prohibitive for many rural fire and police departments that cannot afford expensive new vehicles.

“This community could not get this kind of loan in the regular marketplace,” said Kelly Clark, Special Projects and Public Affairs Specialist for the USDA. “The loan amount would typically be at a higher rate, and a three to five year loan would be standard.”

The program goal is to provide affordable loans for necessary equipment in struggling rural communities. One way this is done is by tying the repayment period to the estimated useful life of equipment.

Clark added that the goal of Community Facilities Program is to “help these rural communities help themselves by maintaining public safety and responsiveness, but not go broke doing it.”

The program is one of many at the USDA designed to help rural communities provide affordable housing, support local business and industry, and purchase or build essential infrastructure. Grants and loans are typically approved for the purchase of  equipment or vehicles related to child care centers, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted-living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings and transportation.

Rural development across the nation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced loans and investments in 33 states and one territory that his agency claims will create jobs and improve the quality of life in rural communities across the nation.

Photo entitled "Rural America" from pomonapost.wordpress.com

“The projects announced today will help strengthen facilities and amenities in rural towns and small cities,” Vilsack said in a press release.

Other cities and states fared far better than Nevada.

For example, the city of Blockton, Iowa, was selected to receive a $50,000 grant that will be used to purchase a fire truck. Currently, the fire department has just one pumper truck to cover a 70 square mile area. Also in Iowa, the city of Akron was selected to receive a $4 million direct loan that will be used to help build a 45-bed nursing home.

In Gray, Ky., KCEOC Community Action Partnership, Inc. was selected to receive a $50,000 grant to replace a roof on a child development and community center in Harland County, a persistent poverty county. The center has 88 children enrolled in its programs and community groups use the center for community, educational and recreational activities.

Great Plains Health Alliance Inc, in Phillipsburg, Kan.,was selected to receive a $3 million loan and a $2.2 million loan guarantee to purchase health records equipment and software for rural hospitals. When completed, the project will offer clinical telemedicine services, including real-time virtual consultations, diagnostic examinations, digital diagnostic imaging, remote monitoring and other specialty services.

The $46.8 million announced this week is being funded through the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Program. Funding of individual recipients is said to be contingent upon meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program is intended to finance essential community facilities for public use in rural areas.

This week’s announcement is part of a series of rural infrastructure investments expected by Secretary Vilsack during the next two weeks. Vilsack said it supports the goal of the American Jobs Act as presented by President Obama to Congress on Sept. 8.

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has set goals of modernizing rural infrastructure by providing broadband access, expanding educational opportunities for students who live in rural areas, and providing affordable health care to rural communities.

 

More Nevadans Got Food Stamps Last Year

By Andrew Doughman | 9:48 am February 7th, 2011

CARSON CITY — Nevada saw 27 percent growth in the number of residents receiving food stamps this past year.

That makes Nevada’s growth the second-highest in the nation with Idaho claiming the largest percent growth at 28 percent.

Between Nov. 2009 and Nov. 2010, 69,000 more Nevadans signed up to receive food stamps, reported the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services.

That means 322,950 Nevadans are using food stamps, which are now, technically, called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Pew Center on the States compiled the latest data, released this January, to compare all 50 states. The organization report‘s that 26 million people received food stamps prior to the recession, whereas 43.6 million people now get food stamps.

Idaho’s unemployment rate is 9.5 percent compared to Nevada’s 14.5 percent.