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Funding Available for Small Business Investments in Renewable Energy

Hey small business owners, your creativity, passion, and drive helped you launch a business in your small town. Investing in renewable energy can help propel your business to the next level.

Installing wind or solar energy systems can cut down on your energy bill and attract new customers who appreciate a product produced with renewable energy. Grants for such projects are now available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

New Immigrants Deliver Opportunity, Challenges to Small Towns

Immigration is reshaping the landscape of rural America. A rapidly growing Hispanic population is driving the trend. New immigrants are offsetting population loss, a challenge faced by many small communities. 

In our home state of Nebraska, the Hispanic population will triple by 2050, accounting for 25% of the state population. More than 40% of this growth is happening in rural communities. The majority population in several Nebraska small towns has shifted to Hispanic.

Building Your Team for Success: Independent Contractor or Payroll Employee?

Hiring Payroll Employees is a BIG responsibility, requiring extra paperwork, costs, and complying with labor laws. They should be seen as a valuable asset to your company and, in return, you should be able to take care of them well.

You pay a “Company Share” (or ½) of their Social Security and Medicare taxes, which is 7.65% of their gross pay. You also pay Unemployment Insurance, which is at an experience rating – anywhere between 0% and 7% of their gross pay. You withhold the employee’s share and pay it when due. You also pay Worker’s Comp Insurance and maybe other benefits.

Corporate Farming Notes: Actively Engaged Rule

The Center for Rural Affairs worked tirelessly in the last Congressional farm bill debate to ensure small and mid-sized family farmers who actively work and manage their operations are the recipients of farm program payments. Strong public policy, in statute and administrative rule, that clearly defines what it means to be “actively engaged” in farming is crucial to that goal.

When Supply Exceeds Purchasing Power

It didn’t matter how many times Brenda Buchholz drove past Our Little Farm on highway 30 in rural Nebraska. She always slowed to take in the colorful edible farmscape. She imagined what it might be like to serve the fresh tomatoes growing on those grounds to the 300 students at Overton Public Schools. 

Brenda is the school system’s food service manager. So, a conversation later, farmers Ben and Judy Weston were planning unique varieties of fruits and vegetables they could bring to students’ plates at their local school.

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