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Farmers and Rural Business Leaders Drive Iowa’s Surge in Solar Energy

Farmers and rural business owners are among the leaders of Iowa’s recent growth in solar photovoltaics (PV). Washington County boasts the most solar installations in the state. Area legislators and Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, recently toured farm applications of solar PV in the county. The tour was the fourth in a series sponsored by the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association, Iowa Environmental Council, and Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Rural America's Turn to Pave Way for Clean Energy Future

Last week, Clean Line Energy Partners received approval to move ahead with one of their new and innovative Great Plains transmission projects.

The Grain Belt Express is a transmission line that will carry wind energy from western Kansas to customers in Missouri, Illinois, and the eastern United States. Unlike other transmission projects, the Grain Belt Express sells transmission capacity directly to the customers that generate power, such as wind farms. This direct approach can help drive already low wind energy prices even lower.

Keeping the Value Added Producer Grant Program on Target

USDA’s Value Added Producer Grants Program (VAPG) provides competitive grants to help farmers and ranchers develop high-value, niche markets. With lots of rural and small town support, the Center for Rural affairs worked diligently to keep the program in the 2014 farm bill. But attention must be paid making program rules work as intended.

Use of Food Stamps Rises in Burt County

The use of food stamps in Burt County (home to the Center's main Nebraska office) increased during the recession, assisting families in stretching their food dollars, contributing to local spending, and helping spark a national debate about the future of the federal nutrition program.

The proportion of Burt County residents receiving food stamps hit 10% in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services. That’s an increase of 4 percentage points since 2007, the year the recession started.

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