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Recent posts by Brian Depew

A Policy Agenda to Support Beginning Farmers

Since the Center for Rural Affairs began, we have been engaged in the debate over who will steward the land a generation hence.

In the last two farm bills, we helped pass new policy to support beginners. Wins included training programs, set-asides within farm conservation and financing programs, and increased support for new market development. These are good building blocks for a beginning farmer policy agenda.

Despite these gains, the share of beginning farmers continues to decline. Data shows beginners are more likely to farm smaller acreages and have smaller farm incomes – sometimes much smaller.

Rural People and Rural Landscapes Intrigue

Rural people sell themselves short when it comes to the art and culture that exists in our communities. Too often we head to the city to take in our fill of culture.

Last year I visited a rural arts collective on the eastern plains of Colorado. They call themselves M12, and they’ve set up shop in an old feed store in the hardscrabble town of Byers.

Richard Saxton, founder of M12, uses his work to explore the compelling landscapes that surround us in rural places. The results lift up the fascinating stories that make up our small towns.

A Sign of the Trouble with Crop Insurance in the Center’s Area

We clipped this ad from the local paper. This outfit seeks to “acquire” 5,000 acres of farmland in our home county. That will cost them nearly $50 million. They own 1,900 acres in the county now, and are connected to a “wealth management” firm in Omaha. They pay cash, and require existing tenant rights be terminated.