Across the Nation

Texas: The oil business is not the only thing booming in Texas, where wind energy is fueling a new boom. Texas now generates 3 percent of its total electricity from wind, making it the leading producer of wind in the nation. California, Minnesota, and Iowa follow in wind generating capacity. Farmers with turbines on their land profit from the boom.

Nationwide: The shortage of math and science teachers in rural school districts is being met with a new grant from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation to provide fellowships to students committed to teaching in a rural school district for at least three years. The program will roll out first in Indiana with other states to follow.

South: One Arizona man has a plan to bring wireless internet to rural America, and he is launching 10 balloons a day across the Southern U.S. to make it happen. Space Data Corp. beams wireless internet service down to the ground from devices carried by hydrogen-filled balloons that float 20 miles above the earth. Each balloon stays afloat for a limited time period, so new balloons are launched each day.

Wisconsin: The state is launching a “Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin” grant program. A small pot of grant money will be made available to support projects that stimulate local agricultural ventures. We hope the program is successful and expanded in future years.

Vermont: Nearly 1,000 college-age youth leave the state every single year. Now the state joins other largely-rural states in an effort to recruit native residents back with a Pursue Vermont program.

Iowa: Fueled by rising demand for grain for biofuel production, farm land prices across the Midwest continue to soar. The latest survey of land prices in Iowa show an 18 percent increase in land prices during 2007 alone. Most land exchanging hands is being bought by producers expanding their existing operations, and increasingly higher land prices raise the barrier of entry for new farmers even higher.

Contact: Brian Depew, briand@cfra.org or 402.687.2103 x 1015 for more information.

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