Nearly $500,000 awarded for Supporting Economic Growth for Rural Communities - SDA grant enables Center for Rural Affairs and UVM to address healthcare needs of farmers and ranchers

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Jon Bailey,, Center for Rural Affairs,  Phone: (402) 687-2103 ext. 1013
or, John Crabtree,, Center for Rural Affairs, Phone: (402) 687-2103 ext. 1010

Lyons, NE - Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced nearly $14 million in grants to support four programs to increase prosperity in rural America through research, education, and extension programs focused on promoting rural community development, economic growth, and sustainability.

Partnering organizations, the University of Vermont (Burlington, VT) and Center for Rural Affairs (Lyons, NE) were awarded $499,994 for a project linking health care reform and economic development in the agriculture sector.
“This project will allow us and partners in other states to reach out to farmers and ranchers and find out their experiences with the Affordable Care Act, their experiences in purchasing health insurances through the health insurance marketplaces, and discover the health care needs of farmers and ranchers and their families,” according to Jon Bailey, Director of the Center’s Rural Public Policy Program. “This will allow us to both gather information for research purposes and recommendations, if any, to better meet the health care and health insurance needs of rural people and families.”
“Nearly 60 million Americans live in rural areas, and their value and impact through the agriculture industry can be felt both domestically and internationally,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “To help these communities remain prosperous and viable, we need to support discovery of new ways that promote economic viability among producers, small businesses, and communities in rural America.”
Farmers, ranchers, and rural communities are the backbone and economic lifeblood for Americans everywhere, providing food, feed, fiber, fuels, and open spaces, Ramaswamy continued. However, rural areas and communities face many hardships. High poverty rates, slow recovery from economic recession, and low average income per household are all challenges to having a successful and viable community. Funding from NIFA is expected to assist communities and regions in creating self-sustaining, long-term economic development through research and strategic planning.
A fact sheet with a complete list of awardees and project descriptions is available: