Weekly Column

Digital divide in rural America

Access to the internet. The internet is now considered a basic human right; it is how people find employment, handle their finances, receive an education, work, and receive medical care.

However, not everyone is able to use the internet to its full potential, due primarily to slow speeds. Rural areas are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing broadband.

Expanding infrastructure into rural areas will improve health outcomes for residents by allowing access to specialists, increasing cost efficiency, and raising quality of care.

Fairness in the livestock industry

USDA took an important step last month to bring more fairness to the livestock industry. The impact of three introduced “Farmer Fair Practice Rules” will be significant across the nation, creating much-needed protections for farmers.

Much of the livestock industry is vertically integrated; meat processors enter into contract agreements with farmers to grow livestock. The processor owns the feed and animals, and sells them to the farmer at a set price.

This conservation funding opportunity may be for you

Farmers and ranchers, there’s a great conservation funding opportunity from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) that you can take advantage of.

The NRCS is accepting initial applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) at its local offices and on its website until Feb. 3. CSP is a national program, tailored at the state and local levels to address regional conservation concerns.

Energy efficiency starts at home

There is a degree of irony discussing energy efficiency during a time of year when many homes are lit like runways. Yet, the cost of a running a few twinkling lights, LEDs of course, pales in comparison to the dollars in heating costs that escape through drafty windows or a furnace in need of a tune-up. Recognizing these opportunities for improved energy efficiency in your home can have a collective impact. 

Slowing Down to Shop Small this Holiday Season

I recently attended the North Platte, NE, Shop Local Kickoff event, featuring state and local proclamations highlighting the importance of shopping local brick and mortar retail stores. The event made me think about my holiday shopping.

This year, I’m challenging myself to make local purchases and encourage everyone else to do the same. I say challenge because I get it – it’s often faster and less expensive to go online. But that route wastes our power to use our purchases to make a difference in our communities. 

Pages

Get the Newsletter