Community Development News

Top 5 of 2017: From the desk of the executive director: New approach needed for small town housing

It's official! The first day of 2018 is here. What better way to kick it off than with a look at our most viewed post in 2017, authored by Brian Depew, our executive director.

This piece takes a look at a community development issue faced by many rural communities — housing. What do you do locally to address a lack of housing in your community? In our top post of 2017, Brian lists a few ideas.

From the desk of the executive director: New approach needed for small town housing

Housing in small towns would take care of itself, or so I used to believe.

Rural communities tapped by craft breweries

Brewing beer is big business in the U.S. In 2016, this centuries-old practice generated $64 million in annual tax revenue and accounted for nearly 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Today, the beer industry employs more than 64,000 individuals nationwide.

These numbers are on the rise, especially when it comes to craft brewers. According to the Brewers Association, a craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Breweries that meet this definition have increased in number from 1,596, in 2009, to 5,234, in 2016.

Small towns: Unique and exciting

Small towns can be places of art and culture showcased in unique and exciting ways. Folks assume that only cities have such opportunities, but our project shows that assumption is not correct.

We looked at community-supported art as one way to bring attention to arts and culture in the small towns of Decatur, Lyons, and Oakland. These towns then worked together to organize and lead the Byway of Art Tour held Sept. 30, showcasing these cultural gems in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

Congress: Rural Development deserves a seat at the table

The Center for Rural Affairs was among several national organizations urging Congress to include a directive in appropriation legislation for Fiscal Year 2018. Section 755 of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill directs the Secretary of Agriculture to nominate an individual to fill the role of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development.

In May, U.S. Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced a reorganization eliminating the Undersecretary for Rural Development.

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