Christopher Helt's dream of one day owning and breeding his own calves came true when USDA approved his application for a Direct Operating Loan in March. Helt, a beginning farmer, used his $30,000 operating loan made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to buy 24 cows, a truck-mounted remote feeder and a large cement feed trough from a local retailer in Cherryvale.

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Helt didn't grow up in a farming family, but he had gained experience breeding and raising calves by helping others, when he wasn't working in his primary profession as a sandblaster. He found an ideal 75-acre pasture to rent near his home to use for his cattle. Now, Helt's son has also become interested in raising calves and was recently approved for a Rural Youth Loan to buy five cows for eventual breeding.

Without the ARRA money from USDA's Farm Service Agency, Helt's dream of starting this new farming business would not have become a reality. The ARRA money also helped the local Cherryvale economy through residual reinvestment. Helt credits his success to having learned from veteran farmers and hopes to become a resource for the next generation of farmers.

This project is just one of thousands of USDA success stories made possible through the Recovery Act. Altogether, the Department has announced approximately $27.8 billion of the $28.0 billion in Recovery Act projects, benefiting people throughout the country. USDA has distributed $173 million in loans similar to Helt to help famers buy the seed, feed and fuel they needed to plant this spring and stimulate rural economies.

President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.

More information about USDA's Recovery Act efforts is available at More information about the Federal government's efforts on the Recovery Act is available at