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Creating a more vibrant rural America may start beneath our feet

Across the nation, farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and state leaders are finding that a key component to building a brighter future for rural America lies beneath our feet. By investing in soil health, states are creating more resilient food systems in the face of increasingly frequent extreme weather, reducing pollution and runoff in rivers and streams, and providing a long-term anchor for many rural economies. To put it simply, states that make investments in building soil health are helping to create a more vibrant future for rural America.

Biting into food access

In Nebraska, more than $4.4 billion is spent annually on food, and 90 percent of that food comes from outside of the state.

When we spend food dollars outside of the state, that weakens our local economy and limits local access points. We rely on other areas of the country, the strength of their food systems and local economies, and the availability of their natural resources to provide us with food. The idea that we are “feeding the world” ignores the unsustainability of our current food system.

Legislation to encourage investments in clean energy

Commercial property assessed clean energy, or C-PACE, is a financing tool that creates opportunities for businesses and nonprofits to make clean energy improvements to their properties. Adopting this legislation has the potential to grow South Dakota’s businesses while furthering the state’s clean energy portfolio.

Who is going to get the farm?

Today, a vast amount of land in the U.S. is owned by those over 65 years old. Some have made their wishes clear for the future of their property. Others are courting family upheaval by not planning in concrete ways.

An age old problem, evident in literature from the Bible to King Lear to Willa Cather, in land transition is the hard questions: Who really owns the land? And, what is the role of the steward of a property? Can "fair" become "unfair" to one's children?

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