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News Release
Release No. STELPRD4018935
ContactDarin Leach515-284-4747
Printable Version  Printable Version
Darnell Recognized as She Concludes an Outstanding Nearly 30-Year Federal Service Career

Des Moines, Iowa, Dec 03, 2012 -- Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa, today announced that Jill Darnell is this month’s Vilsack-Wallace Award recipient for exceptional contributions to USDA Rural Development in Iowa.

The Vilsack-Wallace Award is given each month to a USDA Rural Development employee in Iowa who goes above and beyond their normal work duties to assist rural Iowans and USDA staff.

Darnell, who is the office assistant in USDA Rural Development Waverly office, is being recognized for a tremendous career of helping her co-workers and rural Iowans. Darnell will be retiring from the USDA at the end of December after nearly 30 years of government service.

“Jill has been a wonderful member of the Rural Development team and she will be greatly missed,” Menner said. “We all depend on Jill for so many things, especially staff in Waverly and Iowa Falls. She always knows what needs to be done and just takes care of it.”

Along with completing her assigned duties, Darnell could always be counted on to pitch in wherever needed. While recent retirements reduced staff in the Waverly office, the impact of the staffing changes was minimized thanks to Darnell’s dedication to helping rural Iowans.

“We will all miss Jill very much,” Menner added. “Her friendship and her work skills really made a difference.  We were fortunate to have Jill working for USDA for so many years.  We wish her the best in retirement.”

The Vilsack-Wallace Award is named for the two most recent Iowans to serve as U.S. Agriculture Secretary. Tom Vilsack served as Iowa’s governor from 1999 to 2007. Henry A. Wallace was the first Ag Secretary and later Vice President under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He also perfected the first corn hybrid and founded Hi-Bred Corn, which later became Pioneer Hi-Bred.

This past year USDA Rural Development’s investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,600 jobs, aided 2,400 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 60 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure.

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:12/11/2013 
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