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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.

It’s Springtime in Rural America, and that Means Newborn Livestock!

Spring is a time of growth, renewal, and birth. For many cattle producers, springtime means calving season is underway. It’s when the foundation for the operation’s profitability is laid.

It takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication on the producer’s part to ensure the momma cows are healthy and comfortable. And that they safely deliver a live, healthy calf!

Frequent observation of the cow herd (every few hours) is necessary. Fortunately most calves are born alive and unassisted. But like anything in nature, calving can be unpredictable.

Action on Climate Change Crucial

Climate Change is happening, human activity is the primary cause, and without action consequences will be dire. That’s the overarching message of the National Climate Assessment, released on May 7th. The message is far from new, but cause for concern is growing quickly. Evidence of climate change now appears in every region and impacts are visible in every state in the U.S.

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