New USDA executives for nutrition, marketing, and rural development

The Biden administration announced the appointment of three USDA deputy undersecretaries on Thursday: Stacy Dean for nutrition, Justin Maxson for rural development, and Mae Wu for marketing and regulatory programs.

Water reuse may become part of USDA programs

As part of an administration initiative, the USDA will consider including reused water, also known as recycled or reclaimed water, in its land stewardship and community development programs. "Water reuse is going to be how agriculture continues to increase productivity while decreasing our environmental footprint," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday.

Still recovering from recession, rural America has assets for growth – CAP Report

Rural America was hit harder by the Great Recession than metropolitan areas and has not recovered fully, said the Center for American Progress on Monday. Although rural communities face unique challenges, they have assets for growth that include immigration, natural resources, agriculture, manufacturing and community social capital,  the social bonds and civic engagement that create a resilient spirit in a town, the think tank said in an issue paper.

Report: Rural America is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to policy

A comparatively small portion of the U.S. population, roughly 60 million of the nearly 330 million residents, lives in rural America. But that portion is spread across 97 percent of the nation's land. A new report from the American Communities Project at George Washington University says the immense diversity of rural America defeats the usual approach of a "one size fits all" policy for rural economic growth, even with adjustments for geographic regions or economic sectors.

Digital divide persists, though 53 percent of farms conduct business on internet

More than half of U.S. farm operators say they do business over the internet, a 13-point increase in six years, as ownership of computers and access to the internet blossomed, according to USDA. Nonetheless, the Pew Research Center says rural Americans are much less likely than their city counterparts to have a smartphone or broadband service at home.

USDA’s rural broadband plan met with citizen criticism

Slow speeds, bad coverage and expensive service. These are just some of the concerns contained in nearly 300 public comments on Rural Broadband Pilot Program proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found.

USDA says it will deliver on Trump request for 5-percent spending cut

Under orders from President Trump to cut spending by 5 percent, the USDA may try to slash the taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance program, eliminate a green-payment program, or take an ax to its research agencies, if recent proposals are any indication.

Farm bill? Rural America doesn’t have the time.

The farm bill was the missing topic during a 45-minute session recently with farmers in southwestern Missouri, recalls Sen. Roy Blunt. "The farm bill never came up." Instead, growers talked about threats to farm exports, over-regulation and the need for rural broadband. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says low commodity prices, the slump in farm income, attacks on corn ethanol and, most of all, anxiety about a possible trade war are the top concerns in farm country. No paywall

Growing pains where urban meets rural

Central Iowa’s Dallas County is growing rapidly as the Des Moines metropolitan area spreads westward, says Harvest Public Media in a look at life in two midwestern counties where rural is meeting urban.

Consolidation may be factor in low rural wages

As farms got bigger over the years, so did the equipment that farms use to cover the land. Farm equipment dealerships also got bigger, buying or pushing out competitors, and that may explain the problem of stagnant wages in rural areas: When there are fewer employers, wages show less growth, reports the New York Times.