rural America

Rural Iowa was important but not decisive for Trump, says analysis

Former president Donald Trump won 60 percent of the rural vote in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses, well above his statewide total of 51 percent. But his victory Monday in the first-in-the-nation test of voter support for presidential candidates was built on the vote in towns, where most Iowans live, said a Daily Yonder analysis.

After years of losses, rural population is growing slowly

Rural America, home to one in seven Americans, “is growing again after a decade of overall population loss” and is now home to 46 million people, said the USDA’s “Rural America at a Glance” report on Wednesday. Rural employment has recovered from the job losses of the pandemic, and 1 percent of rural workers hold clean energy jobs, about the same number as are employed in fossil fuels.

Biden to announce $5 billion in funding for land stewardship and rural development

President Biden will open his administration’s “investing in rural America” blitz on a Minnesota farm on Wednesday with the announcement of $5 billion in funding for soil and water conservation, rural infrastructure, and economic development. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the $1.7 billion allotted for stewardship was the largest single-year injection of money ever into USDA conservation programs.

Biden to launch two-week “investing in rural America” blitz

After three rounds of promoting Bidenomics this fall, President Biden will launch an “investing in rural America” blitz at a farm in southern Minnesota on Wednesday to call attention to the billions of dollars being spent on rural development and agricultural projects. Rural voters increasingly …

Rural poverty rate is stable, says Census Bureau

Household income edged downward in rural America in 2022, but the poverty rate held steady at 15 percent, said the Census Bureau on Tuesday. Median household income in rural America was more than $21,000 lower than in metropolitan areas, helping to explain why rural poverty rates are higher than the U.S. average.

Grants will help small and rural schools improve meals

Some 264 school districts across the nation will receive up to $150,000 apiece for projects to improve the nutritional quality of the meals served in small and rural schools, said the USDA on Monday. Nearly $30 million will be distributed through the Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative, said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small.

Cost-share grants for rural renewable energy

The USDA will award up to $1 billion in grants to help farmers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems or make energy-efficiency improvements to their property, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Rural America is growing older faster than urban America

For the first time, more than one in five rural Americans is over the age of 65, said the Agriculture Department on Tuesday, and rural America is aging more rapidly than the rest of the country. The rural workforce is shrinking in number but becoming more racially diverse.

Broadband projects nationwide get $759 million in USDA funds

In the biggest USDA broadband announcement of the year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday that 49 projects will receive $759 million to bring high-speed internet access to rural communities from North Carolina to California. With the new funding, the USDA has awarded $1.6 billion through the third round of ReConnect grants and loans this year.

Rural broadband projects get $500 million in USDA funding

The Biden administration announced a half a billion dollars in grants and loans for high-speed internet projects in rural areas from Alaska to Alabama on Thursday, with more awards expected soon. The 2021 infrastructure bill set aside billions of dollars for broadband access, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “We now have, genuinely, an opportunity to cover all of rural America.”

Survey: Farmers’ outlook improves, but higher input costs loom as major concern

U.S. commodity growers are feeling a little better about their prospects for the coming year than they were last month, but a number of major concerns persist and overall farmer sentiment remains far gloomier than a year ago, according to the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer for August.

House committee votes to ban sale of U.S. farmland to Russia and China

Companies from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran would be barred from purchasing U.S. agricultural land under language approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Rural America needs ‘circular economy,’ says Vilsack

Congress could use the 2023 farm bill to promote a “circular economy” that creates jobs and income in rural America rather than relying on rural areas for raw materials that are processed elsewhere, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. “That's an important component of any farm bill discussion of the future,” he told reporters.

USDA announces pilot program for renewable energy in rural towns

Up to $10 million is available to help residents of rural towns develop community renewable energy projects that will reduce their energy costs, said the USDA on Wednesday. Funding from the new Rural Energy Pilot Program will be targeted at communities that have been historically underserved by the government.

Ethanol producers to electric car makers: We’re greener than you are

With automakers shifting toward the production of electric cars and trucks, the ethanol industry said on Wednesday that biofuels will be an important tool against global warming, and arguably create less pollution than battery-powered vehicles. The comparison was based on life-cycle costs for the power sources, starting at power stations for electricity and corn fields for ethanol.

The ‘TRIC’ of fostering rural prosperity

Rural communities often look outside of their boundaries for the solution — a new employer or new residents — to their economic doldrums, say the editors of "Investing in Rural Prosperity," published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. "We believe rural communities are more likely to achieve these and other common community and economic development goals if ... they build from the inside on the assets they already have," write Daniel Davis and Andrew Dumont.

Covid-19 is worst in persistently poor rural counties

Throughout the pandemic, the highest Covid-19 case rates and the lowest vaccination rates in the country have been found in persistently poor rural counties, the USDA said Wednesday in its annual Rural America at a Glance report. Those counties have also had low unemployment rates, suggesting residents continued to work despite the risk of infection by the coronavirus, said the report.

USDA to spend up to $1.15 billion on rural broadband

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday that the USDA would spend up to $1.15 billion to bring high-speed internet services to people living in rural communities. The money would be available in loans and grants to providers who offer service with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second in areas that lack high-speed internet.

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