Center for Rural Affairs May and June newsletter

Note from the Editor:

Honoring our spring tradition of recognizing graduates close to our organization, we offer our best wishes to Brock Vetick, son of Shawn and Pat Vetick. Shawn is our accounting clerk. Brock will graduate from Lyons-Decatur Northeast High School. He plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and major in plant biology. His goal is to become a plant geneticist.

This edition

This edition of our newsletter focuses on citizen INVOLVEMENT and action to shape the future.

You can participate in the future of rural America and affect change. Together we can commit to equality and inclusion for all newcomers to our rural communities. We can urge our lawmakers to support conservation, beginning farmer and rancher programs, small businesses, and Medicaid expansion.

Read about high school students who have taken initiative and are feeding their peers with veggies grown in their classroom, and learn about one group of farmers and ranchers who are looking at their impacts on the land and planning for the future.

We remember Jeff Reynolds, who was a driving force in advocating for small business development. His impact is felt in rural communities across America.

You can shape the future of your community. Step up with an idea or phone call. Just a little bit can go a long way in our communities.

Inside this issue:

From the executive director: New approach needed for small town housing – Housing in small towns would take care of itself, or so I used to believe. If we could get employment, education, health care, and quality of life right, the market would surely solve housing. In many rural areas, I figured, decades of population decline left more housing stock than people. Certainly a lack of houses wasn’t stopping people from moving to our small town. I was wrong.

Remembering Jeff Reynolds – It is with a heavy heart that I write to share the news that Jeff Reynolds passed away unexpectedly on April 20, 2017. Jeff directed the Center's small business development program, the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project, or REAP, as it is widely known in Nebraska. He was a veteran staff member, having worked for the Center since 1994.

Immigration, opportunity, and rural America – Amidst the turbulent political times for immigrants in our country, the Center for Rural Affairs reiterates its commitment to advancing a set of values that reflects the best of rural America. Among those values are RESPONSIBILITY placed upon each of us to contribute to our community and society, genuine OPPORTUNITY for all to earn a living, raise a family, and prosper in a rural place, and FAIRNESS that allows all who contribute to the nation’s prosperity to share in it.

Farmers and ranchers apply climate data – For farmers and ranchers, climate and weather are not “new trends” as much as they are experiences of day-to-day reality. There is quite a lot of data available on climate change and no lack of controversy over that same data.

Contacting your policy makers: be polite, insistent, and consistent – With your help, the Center for Rural Affairs has a long history of working with lawmakers to help advance policies with big impacts on rural communities. We encourage you to get involved and make sure your representatives support the issues you care about.

From Greenhouse to Cafeteria – East Butler Public Schools serves as a pilot for Center for Rural Affairs’ Greenhouse to Cafeteria program. Students grow vegetables in a greenhouse and deliver the food to the cafeteria. Instructor Shane Hennessy also serves as a resource for other schools.

Dear Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue – We congratulate you on your nomination and confirmation as Secretary of Agriculture. We write to you emphasizing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs that support economic growth and environmental health in rural communities. We hope you recognize these opportunities to impact rural communities.

Rural areas bear brunt of proposed health law changes – Rural America has once again taken its place in the national health care debate. Across America, analysis shows that rural counties would have shouldered much of the cost shift of the proposed and now dead American Health Care Act.

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