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News Release
Release No. STELPRD4018238
ContactDarin Leach515-284-4747
Printable Version  Printable Version
Lee Merrick Honored for Outstanding Program Support and Achievement in Assisting Rural Iowans

Des Moines, Iowa, Sep 21, 2012 -- Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa, today announced that Lee Merrick has received a 2012 Secretary’s Honor Award for personal and professional excellence.

Lee was the only USDA employee from Iowa recognized at the 64th Annual Secretary’s Honors Awards celebration held on September 12, 2012 in Washington, DC. Lee was one of just nine USDA employees nationwide recognized for individual achievements.

The Secretary’s Honor Awards program recognizes the hard work and dedication of all USDA employees and honors those who have taken the commitment to public service to a new level.

“We are extremely pleased that Lee’s dedication to helping our staff and rural Iowans was recognized by Secretary Vilsack,” said Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa. “Since 2009 Lee has helped our staff process 591 environmental and 1,220 technical reviews, a tremendous amount of work that could have only been achieved by someone with Lee’s abilities and commitment.”

Federal disaster declarations, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Rural Energy for America Program created record funding opportunities for USDA Rural Development during the past three years.

Lee helped create a computer-based environmental review process that resulted in improved consistency, compliance, and timeliness to assist a record number of projects and dollar amount approval. This process was then utilized by states all across the country.

“Thanks to Lee’s efforts, one out of every five Rural Energy for America Program projects across the entire country came from Iowa,” Menner added. “Lee’s contributions consistently exceed normal job expectations. He is a tremendous asset to our agency and we appreciate his devotion to helping rural Americans.”

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas.  Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

Further information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by calling (515) 284-4663 or by visiting the agency’s web site at

USDA Rural Development is an equal opportunity lender with a variety of grant and direct and guaranteed loan programs for single and multi-family housing, community facilities, water and sewer development and business and industry programs.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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.

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Last Modified:09/18/2013 
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