Weekly Column

DACA recipients are stimulating small towns

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has provided hard-working young people and their families with a measure of stability. This policy protects individuals who came to this country as children from deportation and allows them to apply for employment authorization.

USDA Rural Development fills resource gaps in small towns

Over the years, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s funding has served as a lifeline for rural communities, providing critical funding for water and wastewater infrastructure, public and community buildings, and essential community service facilities.

Without these grants and loans, many small communities would have to put off infrastructure or facility projects. When necessary projects are delayed, the quality of life in a small town is impacted, along with its economic prospects.

EPA seeks to step backward on clean water policy

Since President Trump issued an executive order calling for the repeal and replacement of the 2015 Clean Water, or Water of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule, my husband has discussed the issue with — and heard the concerns of — his fellow farmers.

As any wife would do, I shared with him the facts and premise of the rule:

Students and educators benefit from growing food

In the last 20 years, small schools facing budget cuts often removed elective classes. This left skills like cooking and growing fruits and vegetables unlearned.

Center for Rural Affairs’ Greenhouse to Cafeteria program has been a solution for schools that have faced those decisions in the past. Not only does it fill a hole left in the curriculum, it also means healthier foods are served at lunch.

Working in a farm successor as part of a retirement plan

Are you one of the many farmers without an identified farm successor? Purdue University says that's around 75 percent, and about half expect nonfamily members to take over. A gradual shift of responsibilities and ownership, plus an extended mentoring period, can help ensure the continued success of the farm business.

After checking out a candidate's experience and references, a short trial period with paid labor can be a good step. This probationary period can help both of you assess how well you work together, how your daily priorities match up, and how you deal with setbacks.

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