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Rural Small Business Hiring on the Rise

Our new assessment of rural small business trends, needs, and concerns in Nebraska shows some promising data. Most notable was the overall increase in hiring and job creation activity. The dramatic rise in Latino-owned businesses participating in the survey was also encouraging.

Interesting demographic trends among Latino business owners came to light. The owners were, on average, considerably younger than the overall sampling group. Also, business owners were more likely to be women. These trends create unique business needs and exciting development opportunities.

Hispanic Population Gains Offset Rural Out-Migration, Keep Small Towns Bustling

My town, Fremont, Nebraska, population 26,000, has an aging population. We’re no different from many small and midsized towns across rural America. By 2017, 31% of Fremont’s residents are projected to be 55 or older.

A new population of Latino immigrants has been moving to the quiet town since the late 1970s. In 1990 there were only 223 Latinos in Dodge County, where Fremont is the county seat. That number increased to approximately 1,400 in 2000 and more than 2,500 in 2012.

Communities Can Change Transmission for the Better

Earlier this month, several hearings were held across Missouri concerning a proposed transmission line that has the potential to carry Midwest wind energy to eastern markets. The Missouri Public Service Commission heard testimony from Missouri residents concerning the Grain Belt Express project, one of several new transmission projects in the region that could help boost new renewable energy projects.

Farm Policy and Conservation Focus of Iowa Trip

I’m writing this after having just returned home from Iowa. While we were there, my colleague John Crabtree and I met with farmer Craig Lang and later with The Des Moines Register’s Randy Evans.

The farmers I work with through my role at the Center for Rural Affairs inspire me. Craig gave us a tour of their farm and the conservation practices they are using to build healthy soil, prevent erosion, and protect water quality.

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