Weekly Column

New Year, New Common Sense Approach to Climate Change

Our nation spent nearly $7 billion responding to extreme weather in 2013. Events that endanger livelihoods nationally, and especially in rural and small town America. These destructive storms, devastating droughts, dangerous flooding and paralyzing winter weather highlight the need for action. We must confront threats that climate shifts pose to rural communities, and the nation.

MarketPlace: Small Conference, Big Results

Whether you are a farmer, rancher, small business owner, or a community developer, you have a million irons in the fire every day. And you probably aspire to improve your bottom line, expand the business and move business plans forward.

Or perhaps you are not a business owner or a farmer/rancher yet, but would like to set out and start a business of your own, but don’t know where to start.

No matter what category you fit into, you most likely have many questions.

Farm Bill Reform vs. Corporate Greed

Last weekend, lead Farm Bill negotiators – the two chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees - rejected bipartisan farm subsidy reform included in farm bills passed in both House and Senate. This eleventh hour, backroom deal would allow virtually unlimited farm program payments to the nation’s largest and wealthiest mega-farms to continue unabated.

Develop New Leaders in Your Community

Never underestimate the need for leadership. But also never underestimate the leaders among us – the folks who step up to organize a community garden or a school bake sale. They see something that needs to be done in their town, and they do it.

Leaders provide the vision and direction for getting things done. Without them, it’s difficult to accomplish things. But it’s hard to picture someone as a leader if they haven’t had a chance to grow into it. So how do you go about developing them?

Rural America Needs Farmers and Farm Program Reform

Thanks to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), both the Senate and House versions of the farm bill include a strict limit on farm program payments. Some Farm Bill Conference Committee members want to remove those farm limits, but that would be a mistake.

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