Center for Rural Affairs March and April 2018 newsletter

Small Towns
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Note from the Editor

Since its inception, the Center for Rural Affairs has chosen to advance a set of values that reflect the best of rural America.

This month’s newsletter focuses on “CONSCIENCE that balances self-interest with an obligation to the common good and future generations.”

Throughout this edition, you will see this value in action: in Crystal Powers who makes sure her land is used in the best way possible; in our stand for fairness in farming; and in our support for veterans who look to continue their sense of service and work ethic in farming or ranching.

We see this value in recent surveys and reports from two states – we surveyed Kansas small business owners on their training and financing needs, and Iowa landowners and lawmakers on renewable energy and transmission siting. We also studied rural residents’ need and usage of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

Conscience is found in our executive director’s essay as he tells us about the Center’s work to expand credit in rural communities.

And, finally, this value is demonstrated in you, our donors. Without you, we couldn’t do all of this work. Check out the special insert recognizing our 2017 donors from 43 states.

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Inside this issue

'Nurturing our vibrant local food system' Crystal Powers utilizes existing resources at Darby Springs Farm – Crystal Powers’ motivation for farming is to help people restore the land through sustainable agriculture.

SNAP, a critical asset for rural America – Food that feeds the world is grown in our nation’s small towns, where food insecurity is endured by millions of children, seniors, and hardworking, rural Americans. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps stave off hunger in one in six rural households.

From the desk of the executive director: Where have all the bankers gone? – The Center for Rural Affairs first examined consolidation in the banking industry in a 1978 report, “Where Have All the Bankers Gone?”. We have long understood the critical link between credit, who has access, who doesn’t, and how it shapes communities.

Veterans connect at annual conference – A veteran’s sense of service and work ethic draws a distinct parallel to the skills and dedication required for successful farming and ranching. The second annual Answering the Call: Veteran Farmer Conference is an opportunity for veterans to connect with fellow former service members who are engaged in or interested in farming.

Iowans respond to clean energy growth – During the past two decades, Iowa’s wind energy industry has created 8,000 to 9,000 jobs, spurred billions of dollars in investment, and provided Iowa landowners with $20 to $25 million in annual land lease payments. With nearly 7,000 megawatts (MW) of installed wind capacity, the state generates more than 37 percent of its power from wind.

Marketing is top concern for Kansas small businesses, according to report – The top concern for small businesses in Kansas is marketing, according to a report released in January by the Center for Rural Affairs and Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission.

Corporate Farming Notes: Crop insurance premium subsidy caps will bring fairness back to farming – Unlimited crop insurance premium subsidies are a loophole that allow the largest farmers to reap the greatest benefits from government subsidy. That is why we support capping crop insurance premium subsidies at $50,000. We believe that crop insurance should be a safety net, not a government subsidy to finance unlimited expansion.

Staff spotlight: Bailey featured in 2018 Farmer's Almanac – Center for Rural Affairs project organizer, Kirstin Bailey, is featured in The 2018 Old Farmer’s Almanac. Bailey was contacted to take part in their “Special Report: Faces of Farming,” a compilation of input from farmers and growers throughout America.

Thank you, 2017 donors! – We believe rural communities, family farms and local businesses are national treasures that provide the foundation upon which our nation was built. Thank you for your generous support in our mission to ensure a strong and vibrant future for this American treasure.

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