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Recent posts by Brian Depew

Premature Deaths on the Rise in Rural Areas

Where you live should not determine how long you live. New research shows it does.

Americans have enjoyed increasingly longer lives over time. Advances in medicine, a decline in fatal car accidents, and falling violent crime rates mean we are living longer.

But new research shows a reversal of this trend for some. If you are rich, geography doesn’t matter. Your expected lifespan is still increasing. But if you are poor, geography matters. In parts of the country we see an actual reversal of the trend.

Rural Hospitals Closing at Rate of 1 Per Month

Rural hospitals have been closing at a rate of nearly 1 per month since 2010. The Southeast has been especially hard hit (see map down below). A rural hospital closure can leave a permanent gap in availability of services in the community.

But closing rural hospitals is not inevitable. The recent increase in closures is the direct outcome of public policy decisions we have made, and we can make different decisions.

100 Years of Anti-Corporate Farming Laws

Thanks to the folks at the Organic Consumers Association for reminding us of this article on the importance of anti-corporate farming laws. It has new resonance in light of  the recent decision by the Nebraska legislature to allow meatpackers to own hogs prior to slaughter (LB 176). I offer it as a #tbt look back into our archives on this essential issue.

Who grows our nation’s food and how they grow it continues to gain new national prominence. Now more than ever, there is a national interest in building an agricultural system that benefits family farms and rural communities, and a system that is not controlled by large, corporate interests.

This effort to limit corporate control of our farming system has deep roots in the Midwest, where nine states have passed laws restricting corporate farming over the last 100 years. Oklahoma has the oldest corporate farming law in the nation. Originally embedded in the state constitution in 1907, the provision prohibited all corporate ownership in agricultural production.

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