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Good Jobs First

Rural economic development is under siege in Oregon, and it looks like petty politics is to blame:

Last week the Oregon legislature took away money that paid for several rural development programs. Earlier in the month, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski closed the Office of Rural Policy, an office he had opened only four years earlier.

AEO Hosts Rural Summit

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is hosting its first Rural Summit in Anaheim, California on May 20. The Summit will focus on building connections between those working in microenterprise development, rural economic and community development, buy local efforts, Main Street revitalization, cultural and heritage initiatives, sustainable tourism, green and agricultural businesses, and others working to transform economic opportunity in Rural America.

If Rural Really Mattered

In January 1974, Don Ralston, Center for Rural Affairs Co-Director, wrote an essay for the Center’s newsletter entitled Fewer Shadows on the Land in which he asked, “What value should be placed on the shadow the farmer casts on his land?”

Don concludes that, “Land stewardship is best achieved by the man who owns, operates, and lives on his own land. The shadow this man casts is perhaps the most valuable of all agricultural inputs.” There have been numerous examples of such prophetic vision throughout the Center’s 35 years.

Self-Employment a Major Rural Economic Driver

According to new national research, self-employment in rural areas has exploded in recent decades and is poised to become a major economic driver in all rural communities. Yet public policy has lagged behind the challenges that accompany this new reality.

Biofuels Boom Could Burst

The biofuels boom offers both hope and peril for farmers and rural communities. We need to address the potential pitfalls now, while we still can.

The benefits are substantial – well paid jobs and a commodity price boom the likes of which we have not seen since the 1970s. But long-time observers who have seen it before are counseling caution. We would be wise to pay some heed.

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