Rural Renewal Monitor



Southern Farmers Vanquish the Clichés

The New York Times | By Julia Moskin | December 27, 2011 

Kathryn Wagner for The New York Times

Shawn Thackeray watches his heritage Berkshire pigs eat tomatoes on Wadmalaw Island, S.C. The island's farms supplied tomatoes for supermarkets and fast-food chains.

It's not hard to get Emile DeFelice riled up. Just mention Paula Deen, the so-called queen of Southern food, who cooks with canned fruit and Crisco. Or say something like “You don’t look like a Southern pig farmer.” He’ll practically hit the ceiling of his Prius.

Because there are a few things about Southern food that the man just can’t stand: its hayseed image, the insiders who feed that image and the ignorant outsiders who believe in it.

“Just because I’m a farmer doesn’t mean I spend all my time feeding pigs,” said Mr. DeFelice, a natty, voluble fellow who raises 200 pigs here at Caw Caw Creek Farm in the softly forested hills north of Charleston, S.C. “That’s an absurd proposition.” Read more about Southern Farmers Vanquish the Clichés

Farms Are Keeping Endangered Species Alive

Fast Company | By Michael J. Coren | December 20, 2011 

You might think that farmland means the death of biodiversity, but animals are quite adaptable, and they now need farms to survive. But farms are going extinct themselves, and endangered animals can’t survive industrial agriculture.

Over the last two millennia, as farms and pasture displaced forests and grasslands, agriculture has spread across more than 40% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface. Wildlife, when it didn’t go extinct, had to go somewhere. Some of it moved back to the farm, where it became semi-domesticated without anyone realizing it. Today, as the Earth undergoes yet another transition from subsistence growing to industrial mega-farms, there’s nowhere else for that wildlife to go. 

study published this month in the journal Conservation Letters found that many threatened and endangered bird species in the developing world are dependent on human agriculture for their survival. At least 30 bird species, and it is theorized many more, came to rely almost completely on traditional farms for food, nesting, or resources as their original habitats have virtually disappeared.

"Conservation efforts in the developing world focus a lot of attention on forest species and pristine habitats--so people have usually been seen as a problem. But there are a number of threatened species--particularly birds but probably a whole range of wildlife--which heavily depend on the farmed environment," said lead author Hugh Wright of UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences in a statement. "We need to identify valuable farmland landscapes and support local people so that they can continue their traditional farming methods and help maintain this unique biodiversity."  Read more about Farms Are Keeping Endangered Species Alive

Two-thirds in Iowa Farm Poll say climate change is occurring

Brownfield: Ag news for America | By Ken Anderson | December 19, 2011

More than two-thirds of Iowa farmers who responded to Iowa State University (ISU) Extension’s 2011 Farm Poll believe climate change is real.

Sixty-eight percent of the farmers who returned the survey agreed that climate change is occurring.  Twenty-eight percent said there is not enough evidence to know for sure, while five percent said climate change is not occurring. Read more about Two-thirds in Iowa Farm Poll say climate change is occurring

Pioneer Cellular's LTE network wraps up data test as part of Verizon rural coverage program

Verizon LTE Coverage in Oklahoma

The Verge | By Bryan Bishop | December 19, 2011

Regional carrier Pioneer Cellular has completed data testing of its new LTE network, which will be launching in Oklahoma next year as part of Verizon's LTE in Rural America program. Under the initiative, Big Red partners with carriers in rural areas where it doesn't have a strong network presence itself. Infrastructure and hardware are built out by the regional company, and Verizon shares access to its 700MHz LTE network. Verizon users get to take advantage of the new coverage, and customers of the regional carrier gain access to Verizon's nationwide LTE network in return. Pioneer is one of 13 participants in the program, with nearly 2.6 million people in 10 states serviced by the partner companies. It's seemingly a win-win: companies like Pioneer specialize in rural wireless deployments, places where Verizon traditionally can't be bothered to offer great broadband coverage. Read more about Pioneer Cellular's LTE network wraps up data test as part of Verizon rural coverage program

Rural communities struggle with lack of lawyers

Associated Press via the Chicago Tribune | By Kristi Eaton | December 11, 2011

MARTIN, S.D.— Quentin Riggins' family told him he was crawling in diapers when he first met their attorney, Fred Cozad. As long as Riggins can remember, the attorney's name was scrawled on a chalkboard his grandmother kept next to the phone with the names and numbers of her closest friends and family. 

Today, Cozad is the only lawyer left in Martin, a community of about 1,000 people 150 miles southeast of Rapid City, and when the 85-year-old eventually closes his firm, there will be none. 

It's a problem seen more and more in rural communities -- one that means people must travel farther for legal advice, slowing down the process and bogging down an already-crowded court system. Cash-strapped communities are spending more money to bring in lawyers from nearby towns for board and commission meetings, while businesses and estates that used to turn to one person for legal guidance are now forced to use firms with multiple specialists -- making the process much less personal.  

Northwestern Wisconsin: The Bookend Phenomena

Public News Service | By Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI | December 12, 2011

LYONS, Neb. - In a large area of the northwest part of Wisconsin, young adults continue to move away, leaving what the Center for Rural Affairs calls "bookend generations:" Only the youngest and oldest residents remain.

Center research director Jon Bailey has just written a report about this trend. It affects young adults in large areas of the Midwest and Great Plains, who stay home only while they're young, he says.

"When they turn 18, the population of rural places really starts to change. People in their 20s, 30s, 40s - working-age young adults and older adults - begin to move to the more urban places of their region." Read more about Northwestern Wisconsin: The Bookend Phenomena

Rural Peru gets connected

The Guardian | Posted by Mattia Cabitza | November 28. 2011

More than 100 communities in rural Peru now have renewable energy and internet access, thanks to an aid programme that is being rolled out across the eight poorest nations in Latin America. Lea este artículo en español.

MDG : Peruvian standing next to a solar panel given by Euro-Solar Programme in Peru
The programme will make a big difference to people living in 130 rural communities in the Andean country. Photograph: Energy and Mining Ministry, Peru

The connection was not of crisp video quality, but the chorus of schoolchildren from San José de Huamaní, near Ica in the south, could be heard loud and clear: "Good morning," they chanted.

Hundreds of kilometres away, they were greeted with applause, through video link, by a brightly lit conference room full of Peruvian and European Union officials. They were meeting in Lima to announce the completion of an aid programme that is taking renewable energy and theinternet to 130 rural communities in Peru.

With funding from the EU, the Euro-Solar programme is being rolled out across the eight poorest nations of Latin America, such as Peru, at a cost of €36m ($47.6m/£30.9m). The aim is to benefit more than 300,000 people whose communities are not connected to the electricity grid. Read more about Rural Peru gets connected

Farmland Boom: Investors Buy As Families Sell Farms

Reuters | November 23, 2011

Cash over corn? Iowa families are selling farms as land prices rise. AP

Cash over corn? Iowa families are selling farms as land prices rise. AP View Enlarged Image

IOWA FALLS, Iowa — It took 31 minutes for Donald Ellingson's family to end a tradition of more than a half-century, by auctioning off 153 acres of rich Iowa farmland.

Five years after their father's death, his three children had grown weary of running a farm. Their tenant farmer had retired. And at age 60 and up, none wanted to return to a life of risky finances and long days.

Combines and corn were not part of the lives of Ellingson's eight grandchildren or 14 great-grandchildren. They live far away. And with today's land prices, the family agreed it was time to let the past go.

"I think dad would be fine with us selling the land," said Diane Guerrttman, 60, who lives in Wyoming and works with at-risk children.

Across the Midwest, the dizzying surge in rural land prices is boosting a reshaping of the farm sector in the world's top food exporter. Instead of digging in to benefit from booming grain prices, the next generation is cashing out of small family farms.

Bidding wars are now common in auctions and attorney offices. They led to a 25% land value jump in Q3. Read more about Farmland Boom: Investors Buy As Families Sell Farms

Young Farmers Find Huge Obstacles to Getting Started

The New York Times | By Ioslde Raftery | November 12, 2011 

Nick Oxford for The New York Times

Emily Oakley and Mike Appel on their farm in Oklahoma.

Emily Oakley, who had worked on an organic farm in California, moved with her husband, Mike Appel, to Oaks, Okla., in pursuit of cheap farmland. But even though they had $25,000 saved, the couple could not get a bank loan. When they applied for a government loan, the loan officer threw back his head and laughed.

“He’d never met anybody coming in for a loan for an organic vegetable production,” Ms. Oakley said. “He thought, ‘These are young, naïve, romantic, idealistic kids who didn’t know what they’re getting themselves into.’ ”

Similar stories prompted the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, a new group that has grown out of the Hudson Valley in New York, to survey more than 1,000 young farmers nationwide in an effort to identify the pitfalls that are keeping a new generation of Americans from going into agriculture.

“Everyone wants young farmers to succeed — we all know that,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, who oversaw the survey. “But no one was addressing this big elephant in the room, which was capital and land access.”

Native Business Owners Testify Before Congress; Reservation Populations Growing, Access to Capital Difficult

South Dakota Public Broadcasting, sdpb.org | From the Dakota Digest | November 17, 2011

The issue of economic development in Indian Country took center stage in front of the United States Senate Banking Committee late last week. Senators heard testimony from Native American business leaders about which measures are needed to spur economic development in some of the nation's poorest areas. On today's Dakota Digest SDPB's Charles Michael Ray speaks with a successful Native American business owner who testified before congress. 

For decades there's been an exodus from small towns and rural areas in South Dakota.  But South Dakota's Indian Country is bucking that trend.   Reservations are the only place in the state where the rural population is actually growing.   Mark Tilsen says this growth should be seen as a positive. Read more about Native Business Owners Testify Before Congress; Reservation Populations Growing, Access to Capital Difficult

Future Farmers Look Ahead

The New York Times | By Motoko Rich | November 11, 2011

Peter W. Stevenson for The New York Times

Austin Lee, center, with other members of F.F.A., previously the Future Farmers of America, at their annual convention.More Photos »

INDIANAPOLIS — Gamaliel Rizzo grew up in a brownstone apartment in Brooklyn and is studying to become a doctor. Still, he spent his high school years learning how to raise chinchillas, goats and alpaca and growing radishes, sunflowers and cilantro. He even worked on a dairy farm in the summer, all as a member of the Future Farmers of America.

Although the nation has shifted ever further from its agrarian roots, the organization is thriving. Begun 83 years ago and now known simply as the F.F.A., it is the largest vocational student group in the country, with more than half a million members and still growing. Read more about Future Farmers Look Ahead

Rural Kansas school district outperforming students around the world

KSNT.com | Accessed on November 2, 2011

Schools across the country spend thousands every year to motivate their students to perform well on tests, but one Kansas school district is proving less really is more.

According to The Global Report Card, the Waconda School District has the nation's second highest math test scores and 18th highest reading test scores. Its students are also outperforming 90 percent of students in America and 20 other developed nations. Read more about Rural Kansas school district outperforming students around the world

FCC approves rural broadband push

USA Today | By Scott Martin | October 28, 2011

Federal regulators on Thursday approved a sweeping overhaul of the nation's $8 billion fund that subsidizes phone service — instead targeting money to finance the spread of high-speed Internet to an estimated 18 million Americans who don't have it.

The FCC voted 4-0 on the makeover of the Universal Service Fund, which helps provide phone service to rural America and to those with low incomes. Regulators approved the new Connect America Fund in a bid to boost U.S. broadband to rural America. The FCC also started a new Mobility Fund to build out mobile broadband.

"We are taking a system designed for the Alexander Graham Bell era of rotary telephones and modernizing it for the era of Steve Jobs and the Internet future he imagined," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The changes mark the biggest transformation of telecommunications policy under the Obama administration.

Connect America, part of the larger $8 billion fund, has an annual $4.5 billion for the next six years. Money for the plan will continue to flow from a surcharge to consumers and businesses seen on monthly phone bills. Those subsidies will be redirected to build out and operate new high-speed Internet in places that carriers consider too underpopulated or financially unrewarding for corporate investments.

The funding switch is expected to bring high-speed Internet to the 6% of the population that has been saddled with slow or no Internet and is losing ground economically and academically as high-speed Internet have-nots. "This is definitely a step forward," IDC analyst Matt Davis says. "It will go a long way toward solving the digital divide in the United States." Read more about FCC approves rural broadband push

Dr. Don: The life of a small-town druggist.

The New Yorker | By Peter Hessler, Illustration by Ben Katchor | September 26, 2011

In the southwestern corner of Colorado, where the Uncompahgre Plateau descends through spruce forest and scrubland toward the Utah border, there is a region of more than four thousand square miles which has no hospitals, no department stores, and only one pharmacy. The pharmacist is Don Colcord, who lives in the town of Nucla. More than a century ago, Nucla was founded by idealists who hoped their community would become the “center of Socialistic government for the world.” But these days it feels like the edge of the earth. Highway 97 dead-ends at the top of Main Street; the population is around seven hundred and falling. The nearest traffic light is an hour and a half away. When old ranching couples drive their pickups into Nucla, the wives leave the passenger’s side empty and sit in the middle of the front seat, close enough to touch their husbands. It’s as if something about the landscape—those endless hills, that vacant sky—makes a person appreciate the intimacy of a Ford F-150 cab.

Don Colcord has owned Nucla’s Apothecary Shoppe for more than thirty years. In the past, such stores played a key role in American rural health care, and this region had three more pharmacies, but all of them have closed. Some people drive eighty miles just to visit the Apothecary Shoppe. It consists of a few rows of grocery shelves, a gift-card rack, a Pepsi fountain, and a diabetes section, which is decorated with the mounted heads of two mule deer and an antelope. Next to the game heads is the pharmacist’s counter. Customers don’t line up at a discreet distance, the way city folk do; in Nucla they crowd the counter and talk loudly about health problems. Read more about Dr. Don: The life of a small-town druggist.

Midwest Farmers Are on Alert Against Pig Thieves

The New York Times | By Monica Davey | September 23, 2011

Allen Brisson-Smith for The New York Times

A rash of pig thefts in Iowa and Minnesota has puzzled farmers and law enforcement officials. 

LAFAYETTE, Minn. — Here in pig country, the pigs are vanishing.

This month, 150 pigs — each one weighing more than an average grown man — disappeared from a farm building in Lafayette despite deadbolts on its doors. Farther north near Lake Lillian, 594 snorting, squealing hogs disappeared last month, whisked away in the dark.

And in Iowa, with added cover from the vast stretches of tall cornfields, pigs have been snatched, 20 or 30 at a time, from as many as eight facilities in the last few weeks, said the sheriff of Mitchell County, adding that among other challenges, the missing are difficult to single out.

“They all look alike,” said Curt Younker, the sheriff, who said he had only rarely heard of pig thefts in his decades on the job. “Suddenly we’re plagued with them.”

With Help Online, French Farmers Now Playing the Field

The LASSAY-LES-CHATEAUX JOURNAL via the New York Times | By MAÏA de la BAUME | August 30, 2011

LASSAY-LES-CHATEAUX, France — Patrick Maignan, a robust gray-haired farmer, lives alone on his farm, surrounded only by the freshly plowed wheat fields of this lonely corner of northern France.

Graphic by The New York Times

Far from tourist routes and cellphone coverage, he works seven days a week, milking his 40 cows twice a day, sometimes breaking with routine by taking classes in traditional Breton dances or chatting with women on the Internet.

Divorced in 1996, Mr. Maignan, 51, had given up hopes of finding another mate. “When women knew I was a farmer,” he said, “they fled.” The loneliness of the farming life is a major issue for France, whose inhabitants worship the land but prefer to live in the city.

But then Mr. Maignan found Claire Chollet, a 49-year-old director of human resources, on atraverschamps.com, or “acrossthefields.com,” an online dating site reserved for farmers like himself.

Mr. Maignan said he now plans to marry Ms. Chollet, a divorced Parisian mother of two, and buy a house together in the village nearby.

Atraverschamps.com is one of a handful of online dating sites devoted to “rural people,” farmers and others who live in the countryside or wish to find their soulmates there. Luc Gagnon, who founded atraverschamps.com in 2001, said that it nearly doubled its number of subscribers in the past year to 17,287, while other sites like vachement.fr, have had an average of 1,200 hits a day in the past year.

Irene wasn't overhyped for rural areas on East Coast

The Kansas City Star | By Curtis Tate and Kate Howard, McClatchy Newspapers | August 30, 2011

While many in major East Coast cities wondered whether officials over-prepared the public for Hurricane Irene, the answer from the mostly rural areas hardest hit by the storm was unequivocally no.

Although New York and other major cities were spared the worst of the storm, it slammed rural areas that will need federal help to rebuild. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency has little money left after a series of disasters this year, and Congress will have to address the agency's multiplying needs when it returns next week. Read more about Irene wasn't overhyped for rural areas on East Coast

Small town of Dawson staying relevant

Inforum.com | By Wendy Reuer | August 29, 2011

DAWSON, N.D. – Motorists on Interstate 94 could pass this town in an instant.

With only an exit sign to guide them, few are likely to realize booming business and exotic endevors are taking shape behind what appears to be just clusters of trees and more of the expansive prairie that rolls across the flat lands of the area.

Yet, behind the trees, just two miles south of the heavily traveled freeway, many of the 61 residents are learning how to hinge a future on their past. The historically agriculture-based town is not only growing in modern farming, but entrepreneurs are using the central location – exactly halfway between Bismarck and Jamestown – to help create a tourism industry and future for the small community.

“For the amount of people that are here, it’s very progressive,” Naomi Turner, owner of Prairie Rose Realty said. “Everybody is doing something big.” Read more about Small town of Dawson staying relevant

Monsanto Corn Plant Losing Bug Resistance

The Wall Street Journal | By Scott Kiman | August 29, 2011

Widely grown corn plants that Monsanto Co. genetically modified to thwart a voracious bug are falling prey to that very pest in a few Iowa fields, the first time a major Midwest scourge has developed resistance to a genetically modified crop.

The discovery raises concerns that the way some farmers are using biotech crops could spawn superbugs.

Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann's discovery that western corn rootworms in four northeast Iowa fields have evolved to resist the natural pesticide made by Monsanto's corn plant could encourage some farmers to switch to insect-proof seeds sold by competitors of the St. Louis crop biotechnology giant, and to return to spraying harsher synthetic insecticides on their fields.

"These are isolated cases, and it isn't clear how widespread the problem will become," said Dr. Gassmann in an interview. "But it is an early warning that management practices need to change." Read more about Monsanto Corn Plant Losing Bug Resistance

A rural reckoning: From post offices to airports, many small Minnesota cities are faltering.

StarTribune.com | By David Peterson | August 12, 2011

Grain elevators across the street from the Danvers, Minnesota post office Wednesday August 3, 2011. Danvers is one of the post offices in Swift county scheduled to close. Photo by Glen Stubbe

DANVERS, MINN.-Kim Schuerman lives only a couple of hours from the city. But daily life in the world around her seems light years away.

The county jail gets down to one inmate, and the sheriff wonders aloud whether it's worth the expense to keep it open. Folks with family buried in the cemetery are asked to take care of the grounds. An 83-year-old retired farmer drives a scooter down an empty street to water and deadhead the petunias in the city park.

In this serene but increasingly lonely landscape, the news that the Postal Service wants to shut down three post offices within a few minutes' drive, as part of a statewide hit list of 117, draws not so much outrage as a weary "here we go again." And Friday it revealed it is proposing cutting 120,000 U.S. postal jobs.

"Since I've moved here," Schuerman said, "we've lost the grocery store. We've lost the café." Standing alongside beautifully crafted post office boxes whose dials have been turned by leathery farm fingers for generations, she softly added: "This is one of the last things we had." Read more about A rural reckoning: From post offices to airports, many small Minnesota cities are faltering.

Ag Secretary Vilsack outlines new rural council

Bloomberg Newsweek | By Maria Sudekum | July 27, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO.--A new federal effort aimed at helping rural areas needs input from private and nonprofit organizations, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday.

"I believe that it's essential and necessary that this country focus more time and more attention on rural America and economic opportunity in rural America,' Vilsack told about 180 people attending the Council on Foundations' Rural Philanthropy Conference in Kansas City.

"We have a devil of a time convincing the private sector to invest in rural America, whether it's debt or equity," he said. "And in tough economic times it becomes even more difficult because commercial banks are so fearful of taking a risk that some regulator may criticize. USDA has been called upon to do more in this space, but frankly our resources are limited."

Vilsack is chairman of the White House Rural Council, which was created last month and is responsible for providing recommendations to President Barack Obama on investment in rural areas and coordinating with a variety of rural interests. Read more about Ag Secretary Vilsack outlines new rural council

Nebraska micro-loans rise when economy tumbles

Forbes.com, Associated Press | Gary Schulte | July 28, 2011

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Business development programs that offer micro-loans to small Nebraska companies say they're lending more than ever since the recession and have fielded an unprecedented number of requests from entrepreneurs who can't get loans from traditional banks.

Program administrators say the micro-loans - small-dollar amounts that can be used to launch businesses that are too little or lack the collateral to qualify for a more traditional bank loan - have grown in popularity because of the global economic downturn. The number of loans offered by four established micro-lenders surged with the recession and dropped only slightly in the last fiscal year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The nonprofit Rural Enterprise Assistance Project has already loaned more than $1 million to small businesses in their fiscal year, which ends on Aug. 31, said program director Jeff Reynolds. In a typical year, he said the micro-loan program - one of Nebraska's largest - lends $600,000 to $700,000.

"We've seen a lot of borrowers we haven't seen in the past," Reynolds said. "These past three or four years have been unprecedented. I think a lot of it is the economy, and banks being more cautious with small businesses."

Four rural S.D. schools let students run the show

ArgusLeader.com | By Josh Verges | July 23, 2011

Donna Ringling of the Platte-Geddes School District works on a presentation last week at Mitchell Technical Institute.
 
Donna Ringling of the Platte-Geddes School District works on a presentation last week at Mitchell Technical Institute. / Emily Spartz / Argus Leader

MITCHELL - Something will be missing from high school biology, physics and physical science classes this fall in Bonesteel: the science teacher.

The high school had been borrowing two science teachers from nearby Burke, but that agreement ended this summer when a consolidation plan fell apart. When the search for a replacement yielded two underqualified candidates, South Central Superintendent Tim Rhead decided to work with what he's got.

The science classes will be led next year by a high school English teacher; a middle school math, science and computers teacher; and a middle school paraprofessional who used to be a veterinary technician.

"It's extremely hard to find science teachers to begin with ... especially one qualified to teach all four subjects," Rhead said.

The teachers are not expected to know the science curriculum; they just have to know students and how to connect them with resources and experts who can teach it, such as Sanford Health researchers and online lectures. Read more about Four rural S.D. schools let students run the show

State lawmakers study Neb.'s rural population

 Lincoln Journal Star | July 24, 2011

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Two state lawmakers have undertaken an interim study to determine whether Nebraska needs incentives to encourage residents to live in rural areas.

State Sens. Kate Sullivan, of Cedar Rapids, and Galen Hadley, of Kearney, have been looking at whether the Legislature should adopt a program similar to one in Kansas that offers tax breaks and other perks to rural residents. Read more about State lawmakers study Neb.'s rural population

Small-Town Doctors Made in a Small Kansas Town

The New York Times | By A.G. Sulzberger | July 22, 2011

Ed Zurga for The New York Times

The eight students at the University of Kansas medical school in Salina on Friday. Front, from left, Rany Gilpatrick, Claire Hinrichsen and Sara Ritterling; second row, Kayla Johnson, Erik Dill and Tyson Wisinger; back, Jill Corpstein and Daniel Linville.

SALINA, Kan. — This state, so sparsely populated in parts that five counties have no doctors at all, has struggled for years to encourage young doctors to relocate to rural communities, where health problems are often exacerbated by a lack of even the most basic care.

On Friday, a new medical school campus opened here to provide a novel solution to the persistent problem: an inaugural class of eight aspiring doctors who will receive all their training in exactly the kind of small community where officials hope they will remain to practice medicine.

The new school, operated by the University of Kansas, is billed as the smallest in the nation to offer a full four-year medical education. More important, supporters say, the students will remain personally and professionally rooted in the agricultural center of the state — a three-hour drive from the university’s state-of-the-art medical and research facilities in Kansas City.  Read more about Small-Town Doctors Made in a Small Kansas Town

In Battle Over Subsidies, Some Farmers Say No

The New York Times | By Ron Nixon | June 23, 2011

Joseph Murphy/Iowa Farm Bureau
Craig Lang, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, has proposed ending direct subsidies to farmers.

With budget cuts all the rage in government, Craig Lang, a dairyman and president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, proposed something that would have been unthinkable in farm country a few years ago: ending direct payments to farmers for crops. Read more about In Battle Over Subsidies, Some Farmers Say No

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