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Recent posts by Brian Depew

From the desk of the executive director: Growing reach, growing impact

The Center for Rural Affairs makes its home office in Lyons, Nebraska. We built a new office in this northeast Nebraska community of 851 people in 2004.

Since our founding in 1973, putting down roots in a small town in the middle of the country has always been a radical demonstration of our commitment to rural America. Then – and now – rural places face profound challenges. Being part of rural America, and confronting these challenges in our daily life, is truly part of the makeup of the Center.

Where have all the bankers gone?

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

That’s why a recent report in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. It detailed how banking in rural communities has fared in the years since the financial crisis. Small business lending in rural areas has dropped by half since 2004, accounting for less than 10 percent of total small business lending.

Farm bill fails to pass House; rural America wins, for now

Today, the House of Representatives failed to pass H.R. 2, its draft of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly known as the farm bill. Representatives voted 198 in favor and 213 against.

This is a win for rural America, as the bill’s proposals were a giant step in the wrong direction.

The draft included eliminating the Conservation Stewardship Program and cut funds for working lands conservation by nearly $5 billion over 10 years.

Local View: House farm bill fails rural Nebraska

The House Agriculture Committee has proposed and voted for a new version of the farm bill. Unfortunately, their proposed bill fails rural Nebraskans.

Working together with members of our congressional delegation, rural Nebraskans have made major improvements to farm policy in the last two farm bills. Farm policy today is more fair, better protects our land and water and does more to create opportunity for a new generation than it did 10 years ago. The House farm bill threatens to turn the clock back a decade.

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