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Recent posts by Guest Writer

New Grasslands Conservation Opportunity Available for Interested Landowners

By Brad Mohrmann, with K Coe Isom, a consulting firm with roots in rural communities
 
A new type of carbon credit program designed for long-term conservation initiatives such as conservation easements on grasslands is beginning to enroll landowners this year. The goal of this effort is to develop a pilot project designed to conserve grasslands and reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions from land conversion. The program could potentially pay landowners who are avoiding crop cultivation activities in concert with easement activity.
 

REAP Assists in Purchase of Small Town Newspaper

It’s great when a new owner/entrepreneur wants to buy a business in a rural community. Small businesses are foundational to the economy. We’d severely miss the products and services, not to mention the sales tax revenue that commerce bring to our communities. But what resources exist to assist with a business transition? In Nebraska's Gage County, NGage can assist along with other business development service providers.

It was recently announced that Tiffany and Matt Henrichs are purchasing the Wymore Arbor State newspaper. This wasn’t a decision that the Henrich’s family made overnight. It took weeks of planning and careful consideration before they moved ahead. Tiffany contacted Glennis McClure at NGage to ask for assistance.

New Grasslands Conservation Opportunity Available for Interested Landowners

A new type of carbon credit program designed for long-term conservation initiatives such as conservation easements on grasslands is beginning to enroll landowners this year. The goal of this effort is to develop a pilot project designed to conserve grasslands and reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions from land conversion. The program could potentially pay landowners who are avoiding crop cultivation activities in concert with easement activity.

The United States has lost grasslands to cropland at accelerated rates in recent years. This conversion can lead to a number of environmental issues including loss of habitat, soil erosion, water pollution, and release of greenhouse gases. By maintaining grasslands, landowners can enhance wildlife habitat, improve watershed health, and prevent the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

What is Right for Nebraska's Energy Future?

I attended what was supposed to be a community energy meeting in Norfolk, Neb., last Tuesday evening. It seemed to be more like a salesmen's pitch on how electricity produced with coal, nuclear power or natural gas is the customer's "best buy." The panelists' main defense, as always, is the "economics" or the current dollar cost of producing electricity.

Sadly only one hour was allotted for the event. The panelists took up most of the time making their pitch, hardly reserving any time for the public to participate.

Rural Behavioral and Mental Health Still Overlooked

In 2009 I co-authored a Center for Rural Affairs’ report detailing the critical, but overlooked, need for mental and behavioral health services in rural areas.

The report tied inadequate rural mental and behavioral health care services to a lack of affordable, meaningful health insurance coverage. It concluded this “problem must be addressed for prosperous rural families, economies and communities.”

Despite adoption of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, rural America still lacks mental and behavioral health services. Rural residents have a higher percentage of all categories of mental illnesses, from a serious mental illness to psychological distress to major depression. Nearly one-in-five rural residents experience some mental illness.

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