Get The Newsletter?

 

    

Recent posts by Brian Depew

Testimony on Limiting Carbon Pollution Drawn from Rural People and Stories

I traveled to Denver in late July to testify at a public hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon pollution rule. The rule will rein in carbon pollution and curb climate change. I brought your stories – the stories of rural people we know to the hearing.

Stories from people like Matt Russell, a 5th generation farmer from Iowa who feels he’s already experiencing the effects of climate change. He’s worried we won’t be able to meet the needs of a growing population if the agricultural systems we have in place now are no longer viable with a changing climate.

Rooted in Place, Speaking Nationally

Just this week, I heard from people in New Jersey and England. Both wrote to say the values of the Center connected with them.

The writer from New Jersey asked a question. “Your work appears to be applicable to rural communities in any state, but the discussion on your website often seems to focus on the midwest and central plains. Are the challenges faced by rural communities in other regions on your radar screen?”

The answer is yes.

Putting Art in the Driver’s Seat

It is summertime in small-town America. People line main street for parades and gather in the park for antique tractor shows. Events like these make a town come alive.

We spend a lot of time at the Center for Rural Affairs discussing business development. Art and cultural development is often thought of second, after business and infrastructure are attended to. 

That is the wrong approach. 

Cultural events – the things we do together – give us a sense of identity and shape who we are as a community. 

New Immigrants Deliver Opportunity, Challenges to Small Towns

Immigration is reshaping the landscape of rural America. A rapidly growing Hispanic population is driving the trend. New immigrants are offsetting population loss, a challenge faced by many small communities. 

In our home state of Nebraska, the Hispanic population will triple by 2050, accounting for 25% of the state population. More than 40% of this growth is happening in rural communities. The majority population in several Nebraska small towns has shifted to Hispanic.

A New Vision for Small Schools

If you live in a small town, you know the school is a centerpiece of the community. The two small schools I know best have been on my mind a lot lately.

The first is Laurens-Marathon, a consolidated school in Iowa. I graduated from there. The second is Lyons-Decatur, the consolidated school here in the Center’s home town. Both are under pressure to merge again, becoming parts of even larger districts.

Pages