Center for Rural Affairs January and February 2021 Newsletter

Small Towns
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Editor's Note

Hope you’re hanging in there. In this edition of our newsletter, we are looking forward to starting 2021 off on the right foot.

In this issue, we chose stories to highlight our core value of “Citizen INVOLVEMENT and action to shape the future.” You are doing quite a bit to shape the future of our rural communities and we share a couple of opportunities to get involved even further.

For starters, the 2020 election is over and with the retirement and unsuccessful reelection bids of lawmakers, members of the House and Senate agricultural committees will be different heading into the 2023 farm bill. We give a preview into what that may look like.

We highlight one mayor of a rural community who has gotten involved with a new solar project and is working with other leaders to ensure its success.

We haven’t forgotten about 2020, and the leadership skills we need to accept differences within our communities. Early this year, the Center will offer Civity trainings for those who are interested.

And, finally, our friends in Nebraska will be excited to see the 2021 legislative priorities of the Nebraska Food Council. For those of you in other states, these are some items that you can take to your own food councils or talk with your lawmakers about.

Inside this Issue

Investment in clean energy paying off for Nebraska community—As the industry continues to grow, many rural communities across the U.S. have reaped the benefits of clean energy development. Among the hotbeds is the Norfolk, Nebraska, area, which is in the midst of pursuing a community solar project. Mayor Josh Moenning said the region has already benefited greatly.

What the 2020 election means for the next farm bill—With the dust settling from the 2020 election, questions about how the results will impact farm policy and the next farm bill have surfaced.

From the desk of the executive director: an opportunity to build a more resilient future—We are deep in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this point, keeping track of the challenges we’ve faced is difficult. Everyone knows someone who has been ill with COVID-19. Too many know someone who has died.

Organizing for food policy: Nebraska Food Council’s 2021 priorities—Since its founding by the Center for Rural Affairs in 2017, the Nebraska Food Council has worked toward its mission to strengthen Nebraska’s economy and environment while fostering food security for all Nebraskans through broad collaboration. 

Rural communities well-positioned to combine clean energy, conservation—With states across the Midwest continuing to embrace the economic potential of renewable energy, project developers and landowners have the ability to work together to explore opportunities for investments in conservation, according to three new reports released by the Center for Rural Affairs.

Conversations from the field: new guide explains organic crop insurance options—Across rural America, we have eased into new norms and routines. Each of us is attending to the impacts of COVID-19 on our friends, families, and communities as we reflect on these unprecedented times.

Leaning across differences make us strong—2020 was a difficult year for everyone, for a multitude of reasons. Of the many challenges that came to national attention throughout the year, perhaps the most apparent was the lack of civil discourse among those with different identities, beliefs, and political affiliations.

Special insert: 2021 Nebraska Legislative priorities2021 Iowa Legislative priorities

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