Weekly Column

Congressional appropriators invest in rural business

Across rural America, small businesses are the heart of main street. From local coffee shops to the hardware store, these businesses employ local residents, provide important services to the community, and serve as anchors for their local economies. With the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 passed on Feb. 15, Congress has made an investment in rural small entrepreneurs nationwide.

Biting into food access

By addressing key issues in food, farm, small business, and community-level and institutional policy, there is potential to identify strengths, changes needed, and gaps in the food system.

Good food policy and effective coordination between food system stakeholders will produce strong farms, open new or existing markets that are difficult to access, cultivate a resilient food economy, and preserve a healthy future for all rural Americans.

Biting into food access

In Nebraska, more than $4.4 billion is spent annually on food, and 90 percent of that food comes from outside of the state.

When we spend food dollars outside of the state, that weakens our local economy and limits local access points. We rely on other areas of the country, the strength of their food systems and local economies, and the availability of their natural resources to provide us with food. The idea that we are “feeding the world” ignores the unsustainability of our current food system.

Legislation to encourage investments in clean energy

Commercial property assessed clean energy, or C-PACE, is a financing tool that creates opportunities for businesses and nonprofits to make clean energy improvements to their properties. Adopting this legislation has the potential to grow South Dakota’s businesses while furthering the state’s clean energy portfolio.

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