A Rural Perspective on 2010

What an interesting year. The Affordable Care Act passed last March. It remains controversial, with polls showing about half the American people supporting the law and about half are on the other side. Of course, nearly a third of those responding negatively believe that reforms did not go far enough. Increasingly, as provisions such as doing away with pre-existing conditions for kids and tax credits for small businesses that provide health care to their employees are implemented, understanding and support rise.
We developed a landmark series of reports on the unique health care challenges rural communities face.  This ongoing series (http://www.cfra.org//policy/health-care/research) was crucial in ensuring that those unique challenges were part of the health care debate.

We released groundbreaking reports on the importance of grocery stores in rural communities and key strategies for retaining them (http://www.cfra.org/node/2757).

We kicked off a major initiative to help the next generation of family farmers and ranchers; USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program was launched, providing crucial investment in rural small business development; and we’re in a pitched battle with meatpackers over livestock market reforms that protect family farmers and ranchers.  We helped nearly 2,000 family farmers, ranchers and others submit comments to USDA on those reforms.

And, while America battled the worst economy since the Great Depression, more people supported the Center for Rural Affairs financially over the last three years than at any time in our history.  We have much to be thankful for, and we have great hope for 2011.

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