News

Fortenberry Steps Up

For the past several months, the House Agriculture Committee has opposed any and all attempts to make substantial changes to farm programs. Members of the committee hate proposals to substantially revise farm programs supported by those not on the committee , and it appears a majority of the committee members won't even support common-sense payment limitations of the sort proposed by leading members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. And in subcommittee work a few weeks ago, a five-year extension of current farm programs was passed.

Happy 4th!

This being the 4th of July, I thought it would be worthwhile to post one of the best rural pieces I have read in my time at the Center for Rural Affairs (almost a year… wow). While I have worked here, I have had many people assume that the Center for Rural Affairs works only on farm and agricultural issues. We do spend a lot of time on those issues, but our mission is to advocate for all rural people and all rural places- especially the Great Plains region, where we began and where we work and live today.

What Would It Look Like If Rural America Really Mattered?

This is the third in our continuing series of articles about successes in rural America — this time sharing Elkader, Iowa’s story

If rural communities mattered as much as they should, not more, not less, but just as much as they deserve, there would be a wholesale shift in how rural economic development gets done in rural America. Donelle Eller’s recent Des Moines Register article (Businesses help spark rural revitalization – Iowa’s Rural Economy: Increased Investment Brings Optimism, June 10, 2007) discusses at length the progress that Elkader, a community of 1,500 in Northeast Iowa, has had with rural revitalization.

Eller reports that Elkader has attracted new residents and businesses from across the nation.

College Tuition Becoming Unaffordable

New poll shows over three-fifths of Americans believe qualified students won’t be able to attend college because of rising tuition rates; improved tax credits would help

As our students look beyond high school, many will undertake some form of higher education. A recent national poll and report released by Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education indicates widespread concern that the opportunity to go to college may not be available to all qualified students.

The report, Squeeze Play: How Parents and the Public Look at Higher Education Today, reveals that the public sees higher education as essential for success in the workplace. But tuition is rising too fast, and 62 percent agree that many qualified students will not have the opportunity to obtain a college education.

Art and Culture Mean Big Business for Small Rural Communities

New study shows that art and culture events not only enhance rural living, they also bring visitors who spend about twice as much as the locals ($40.19 compared to $19.53) while they are in town

The nation’s nonprofit arts and culture communities provide a large source of revenue for their regions. Arts-based communities have seen revenue skyrocket over 24 percent from 2000 to 2005, according to a study done by Americans for the Arts. Many arts-based organizations also strive to make their communities more enjoyable places to live and, by doing so, have become economic drivers as well.

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