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Recent posts by Brian Depew

Farm Bill Stumbles as Big Business Seeks to Strip away Reform

Reaching a final farm bill deal in Washington hinges on a major stumbling block - payment limits.

Let’s review where we’re at. Thanks to a strong showing from grassroots supporters like you, both the House and the Senate versions of the farm bill include identical farm program payment limit reform. 

Keep Your Eye on the Money

You can learn a lot about how or why certain decisions are made if you follow the money. For four decades the Center has been doing just that.

Ground-breaking Center for Rural Affairs reports from our early years were—at their core—an analysis of how money and investment trends were affecting small towns, family farmers, and rural people.

This included our early report, Who Will Sit Up with the Corporate Sow?, which documented the financing trends that underscored the initial industrialization of hog farming in this country.

Water: Overcoming a Tragedy of the Commons

Supplies of freshwater are tightening. The issue is complex – driven by changes in surface and groundwater use, a changing climate, and a patchwork of regulatory bodies.  Take an example from the Center’s backyard. Across an expansive swath of the heartland, water from the Ogallala Aquifer supports farm, ranch, and rural life. More than two million people and one-fifth of the wheat, corn, cotton, and cattle grown in our country are supported by the aquifer.

There’s one problem. We’re depleting key parts of the aquifer faster than they can be recharged by rain.

Small Town Advocate Beginning at Age 10

I am honored and excited to be the new Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs. I owe much to all of you - great supporters, our staff, board, allies, and those who came before. Because of you the Center rests on a rock-solid reputation and a track record of success.

You might wonder how I came to be at the Center. It all began the summer I turned 10. That summer we visited the family farm in Iowa. My grandparents had recently retired and moved to town. We were scouting the farm, and I was lobbying to move there from halfway across the country.

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