USDA

70% of Iowa Abnormally Dry

Aug 7, 2013
USDA

The latest USDA drought monitor map shows that 70 percent of Iowa is abnormally dry. That includes all of Des Moines, Henry and Lee counties.

US Corn Acres Up, Down for Iowa

Jul 1, 2013
SSS

The USDA has issued a report of saying despite a soggy planting season, farmers will still break records this year.

Three events scheduled for this week for focusing on housing in the tri-state region.

Ag Census Deadline Nears

May 15, 2013
Rich Egger

The deadline for the USDA’s Ag census is at the end of the month. It's conducted every 5 years and collects information on land prices and ownership as well as agricultural practices.

Heavy Rain Delays Planting for Tri-States

May 7, 2013
SSS

Iowa received almost twice its average amount of rainfall in April.  The precipitation replenished soil moisture but delayed this spring’s planting.

A new report from the USDA identifies multiple reasons why honey bees are dying off in the United States.

Drought Hit Western IL Crops Unevenly

Mar 5, 2013
ag.purdue.edu

Recently released numbers by the USDA show that the drought affected crop yields last hear differently across Western Illinois.

Corn yields in McDonough and Mason counties were down thirty bushels per acre from last year.  Adams and Pike County were down 60 bushels while Mercer County was actually up twenty.

Deadline Looms for USDA Discrimination Claims

Feb 27, 2013
https://www.facebook.com/AgriWomen/photos_stream

Women and Hispanic farmers who believe that were discriminated against by the USDA have one month left to file a claim with the federal government.

Women and Hispanic farmers who believe they were denied USDA farm service loans have until march 25th to file claims.

USDA Cracks Down on Food Stamp Fraud

Feb 26, 2013
http://www.fns.usda.gov (via wikipedia)

The USDA says it’s changing  the rules of its aid program commonly known as “food stamps” to help crack down on fraud.

The agency is expanding its legal definition of “trafficking” to crack down on people exchanging food stamp benefits for cash.

USDA Works with Farmers to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Feb 13, 2013
Credit: Lynne Betts, USDA/NRCS)

A program across Illinois and Iowa is looking at ways for farmers to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they produce, and to be compensated for it.

The program explores ways farmers can change the way they apply nitrogen fertilizer to reduce the amount of nitrous oxide gas that is created.

keepingbeautiful.com

Months after the USDA enacted rules making school lunches healthier, the agency is proposing rules to mandate healthier snacks in schools as well.

The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 set new guidelines for school lunches but also required the USDA to establish nutrition standards for all food served in schools, not just lunches.

USDA Creates New Microloan Program

Jan 24, 2013
USDA

The USDA has launched a new microloan program that it says is designed to help small and family operations along with beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.

According to a  local farm loan specialist  it may especially help a specific kind of small farmer, and give a boost to the local food movement.

Funding Will Advance Colchester Sewer Project

Sep 10, 2012

Colchester has the last and most important component to move forward with a large-scale sewer project-money.

The USDA's Rural Development program will give the city a grant of a $1.56 million and a loan of $2.35 million. The interest rate on the loan is 2.125%.

Mayor Danny Bice is glad for the money but he still thinks it will put stress on the city's finances.

He says, “We were actually hoping to get a little bit more (in the grant). We're going to have to run the numbers and make sure it's still feasible for the customers in town.”

Rich Egger

All counties in Illinois have  been designated as “primary disaster areas” due to drought.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the designations came at the request of Governor Pat Quinn and  because of a national drought monitor that shows lack of rain plaguing the entire state. All counties have been affected by drought  for  at least the past eight weeks.

The designations mean all Illinois farmers are eligible for emergency loans from the federal government.

City to Hold Public Hearing on Sewer Rates

Jul 5, 2012

Residents of Colchester will get a chance to make their voices heard on sewer rate increases. The public hearing is Monday, July 9th, at 7 p.m. in city hall.

They face sewer rates of between $40 and $50 per month to pay for repairs to the city's sanitary sewer system. The hikes are needed to bring the city into compliance with federal EPA regulations.

Mayor Danny Bice hopes for a large turnout at the hearing.

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