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ESSAY: Rural People Should Demand a Place in the Global Warming Debate

Rural America has much to lose with inaction over climate change and much to gain by acting to become part of the global solution

Beyond a reasonable doubt, the globe is warming. It presents rural America with great risk and opportunity.

Rural people should be at the forefront in demanding action. We have much at stake. We need a place in the debate.

The emerging scientific consensus is sobering. Early this year, an international panel of 2,500 scientists concluded that it is “unequivocal” that global warming is occurring, and it is more than 90 percent probable that it is caused by humans.

Sponsors Needed for Legislation to Enhance Fair Livestock Markets

A small group of bipartisan senators has introduced legislation to ban packer ownership of livestock – other supporters are needed

The 2007 Farm Bill debate is well underway, with bills being introduced and senators and representatives beginning to define their positions. We are working to ensure those positions include strong support for small and mid-size farmers and ranchers.

When it comes to the issue of ensuring fair and equitable markets for small and mid-size family farmers and ranchers who raise livestock, there are some real leaders in the Senate who have introduced important legislation.


Iowa Senate requires meatpackers to buy from independent producers; low feed prices save industrial operations billions of dollars

>> Meatpackers will have to purchase more of their hogs from independent family farmers if legislation approved by the Iowa Senate on March 20, 2007, becomes law. SF 504 requires them to purchase at least 25 percent of their hogs from independent farmers. Senator Jack Kibbie (Democrat-Emmetsburg) urged the Senate to pass the bill, saying the market for independent hog producers has almost disappeared. He described signs at packers’ unloading docks that say “contract hogs only” and called on the Senate to pass the bill to provide a market for the independent producer.

REAP Online Loans

Launched in the fall of 2005, the REAP Online Lending System has greatly improved the Center’s outreach and ability to work with entrepreneurs across rural Nebraska. REAP is our acclaimed full-service, statewide rural small business development program. It offers loans, training, technical assistance, and networking for micro businesses, defined as those with five or fewer employees.

Dangerous Times for Natural Amenity Growth

Natural amenity growth relies on abundant land and water resources, and producers who use them wisely should be rewarded for their long-term vision in preserving them for us and future generations

Natural amenities can enhance an agriculture producer’s income and preserve the landscape for all of us. In the last few columns, we have discussed how attitudes will need to change to take advantage of natural amenity growth. Discussing change is easier when commodity prices are low and eagerness to do the right thing is stimulated by an economic benefit – a win-win situation.