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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.

Carbon Pollution Standards Open Options for Renewable Energy

Last month the Center for Rural Affairs filed official comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of proposed New Source Performance Standards. This rule creates first-ever limits on the amount of carbon pollution emitted by coal-fired power plants.

As the name implies, these standards apply only to new power plants, those that haven’t yet been built. A similar rule written exclusively for existing power plants will be released later this summer.

Investing in Conservation Protects our Land and Water

The Conservation Stewardship Program rewards farmers and ranchers who protect our soil, water, and wildlife, providing benefits that extend beyond their farm or ranch gate.

The House Appropriations Committee will be voting on the Fiscal Year 2015 Appropriations bill this week that proposes cutting more than 1 million acres from the Conservation Stewardship Program, a reduction of $109 million in funding.

At a time when more farmers and ranchers need tools and resources to help them protect our land and water, we should be investing more in conservation, not less.

REAP Goes to Washington to Share Small Business Successes

Small business and rural living are two of my passions. That's why I was delighted to be in the nation's capitol during National Small Business Week.

I work with the Center's small business development program, REAP, and I went to share what we have learned in 20 plus years working with entrepreneurs in small towns and rural communities.

REAP is part of “The Friends of the SBA Microloan Program.” The friends network supports a strong and effective Microloan Program at the Small Business Administration (SBA).

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.

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