Weekly Column

Economic Benefits of Immigration

The majority of rural, foreign-born U.S. residents come from Latin America. And Latino immigrants are not only bringing population growth to rural America, they also bring economic growth. Economists have found that, nationwide, rural counties with larger proportions of Latino populations tend to be better off economically than those with smaller Latino populations.

An Affordable Pathway to Big Energy Savings

What if you could reduce your electric bill while increasing the comfort of your home?  More and more utilities are finding ways to do this, often using “tariffed on-bill financing.”
Tariffed on-bill financing may be a dry term, but programs in this category have exciting benefits for residential electric utility customers. These programs - sometimes billed as “Upgrade to Save” or “Pay as You Save” - can save customers hundreds of dollars annually, enable utilities to provide energy efficiency upgrades, help homeowners build equity in their homes, and create local jobs.

Immigrants and Latinos Bring Economic Growth to Rural Communities

Unfortunately, in the rancor of the presidential primary season, discussion of the benefits immigrants bring to rural and small town America has gotten lost.
Towns and cities in the nation’s midsection have struggled to find ways to maintain their population and tax base. However, small towns with growing immigrant populations have sustained, or even increased, their population.

New Grasslands Conservation Opportunity Available for Interested Landowners

By Brad Mohrmann, with K Coe Isom, a consulting firm with roots in rural communities
A new type of carbon credit program designed for long-term conservation initiatives such as conservation easements on grasslands is beginning to enroll landowners this year. The goal of this effort is to develop a pilot project designed to conserve grasslands and reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions from land conversion. The program could potentially pay landowners who are avoiding crop cultivation activities in concert with easement activity.

Respect and Restore

We believe that developing renewable wind energy brings real benefits to rural communities across the nation. To ensure these benefits aren’t realized at the expense of landowners and community members, wind energy projects must address the challenges presented by the construction process.
The Center for Rural Affairs recently released a report entitled Respect and Restore: Reassessing Local Wind Energy Standards, that examines issues being overlooked in county and township wind energy ordinances.