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From the desk of the executive director: the little program that could

Let me tell you a story. It’s a story of a little program called RMAP. Sounds wonky, right?

It’s the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, which is part of the larger farm bill. The story started a long time ago.

A Center study in the late 1980s showed a high rate of self-employment in rural areas, but few economic development strategies to help this sector. The more rural the area, the higher the rate of self-employment, the report documented. This research led us to expand our programs to serve small businesses.

Conference focuses on food and arts-based businesses and rural communities

Registration is open for the Food + Art Conference: Growing Rural Businesses and Communities, hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.

The event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 10, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Pender Community Center, 614 Main St., in Pender, Nebraska.

The conference will offer resources and connections for food and arts-based businesses, and rural community or economic developers wishing to develop local economic opportunities around local foods and the arts.

Staff spotlight: Justin jumps around the globe, lands at the Center

There’s no place like home, especially when home is rural America.

Just ask Justin Carter.

Though his travels have taken him all around the world, Justin recently found his way back to his home state.

“I grew up in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, just outside of Omaha, and while we were close to the city, I had all the characteristics of a rural kid,” said Justin. “I worked on farms in the summer and went hunting in the fall. Rural America had a large impact on my upbringing, and I’ve always been proud to say I’m from a small town.”

Transmission upgrades needed to adapt to changing landscape

As more renewable energy is developed across the nation, regulators and policymakers must prepare for the changing electric power landscape. Clean power commitments have increased at the county and city levels, with 11 counties and 104 cities nationwide pledging to 100 percent clean energy goals at the end of 2018.

The Center for Rural Affairs recently released a white paper, “Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition,” which takes a look at an electric transmission system that is evolving to take advantage of clean energy resources.

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