Poverty rate returns to pre-recession level in rural America

After cresting at 17.7 percent during the slow recovery from the Great Recession, the rural poverty rate is back at pre-recession levels, said the Census Bureau on Tuesday. But the growth in household income that accompanied four years of declines in the poverty rate nationwide has slowed, and …

Independent grocers outnumber chains in rural America

A new report from the USDA found that while independent grocery stores outnumber chain grocers in rural areas, they account for a smaller percentage of grocery sales.

Montana ranchers worry new radioactive waste rule isn’t enough

Since 2013, nearly 233,000 tons of radioactive waste, much of it from the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota, has been disposed of at a site near Glendive, Montana. Now, after years of prodding, the state has finally proposed a rule for handling oilfield waste, but area ranchers and farmers think the plan leaves them deeply vulnerable.

Rural business trends for 2017: The net, customer service and walkability

Instead of waiting for customers to walk through the door, "smart rural businesses are using the same omni channel tactics as big businesses," says Small Business Trends in listing eight rural and small town trends for the new year.

Why is rural America Republican? Because Democrats live in town.

The most partisan members of the Republican and Democratic parties — the people who vote in primary elections — cluster in different parts of the country. Democrats live in cities and Republicans in rural areas, says the Daily Yonder.

Rural Americans back Trump by 2-to-1 over Clinton

Traditionally Republican rural America, where many residents are social and fiscal conservatives, will vote overwhelmingly for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to a poll commissioned by DTN/The Progressive Farmer. The telephone survey found 46 percent supported Trump, 24 percent backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, 10 percent said they were vote for a third-party candidate and 20 percent were undecided or preferred "none of the above."

USDA asks retailers to volunteer for test of food stamps online

It's not in the same class as the famous poster of Uncle Sam sternly declaring, "I want you for the U.S. Army." But the government is asking retailers to volunteer for a two-year, nationwide trial of online grocery sales for food-stamp recipients.

When Wal-Mart bypasses towns, rural America gets creative

Too small to support a big box supermarket, some rural towns are turning to alternative grocery store models to feed their populations, says High Country News. In Walsh, Colo., (pop. 600), townspeople invested in $50 shares to jumpstart a grocery store.

Japan plans ‘working holidays’ to get young people into rural areas

Japan's internal affairs ministry will launch a so-called working holiday project in 2017, designed to bring students and young employees into rural areas to work in factories, on farms and in the tourism sector, says the Nikkei news agency. The goal is to stimulate consumption in rural areas while addressing labor shortages.

For first time, National Grange elects woman as president

Betsy Huber of Pennsylvania is the newly elected president of the National Grange, the first woman to lead the 80,000-member farm organization founded in 1867. The Grange describes itself as an advocate for rural America and agriculture--the oldest and largest in the country.