U.S. to connect rural areas with development funding

The U.S. government will put field staff in more than two dozen rural communities to provide an on-the-ground link between local leaders and federal economic development programs, said the White House on Wednesday. The Rural Partners Network will be run by USDA but will have a "whole of government" approach, working with 10 federal departments, the EPA and the Small Business Administration, and will expand to all 50 states if Congress provides additional funding.

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, …

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.

Medicaid gap is larger for rural residents

Two-thirds of rural Americans without health insurance live in states that decided against an expansion of Medicaid, the Daily Yonder said, based on material from the Kaiser Family Foundation. For urban residents, half of the uninsured in states that did not expand Medicaid, a lower rate. The uninsured rate is 18 percent for both rural and urban areas, with 47 million people lacking health insurance, says the Yonder.

Rural areas trail cities on college degrees

Far more urban residents hold college degrees than do rural Americans - 32 percent vs 18.5 percent, says an article in USDA's Amber Waves magazine. The urban-rural gap widened by 2 points since 2000, according to Census Bureau data.

Do rural areas only vote Republican and cities Democratic?

One of the rules of thumb in politics is that rural America is populated by social and fiscal conservatives, so residents vote Republican. The Daily Yonder looked at vote totals in all 3,143 counties in the Nov 5 elections for U.S. House...

Rural employment remains below pre-recession level

Some 779 rural counties lost jobs since mid-2013, says USDA's Economic Research Service, compared to 1,206 that held steady or notched gains.

As rural moves right, Democrats face obstacles

Book-ending the Daily Yonder's data on Republicans winning a larger share of the rural vote in the mid-term election, political analyst Matt Barron says Democrats face problems ranging from poor recruitment of candidates...

Urban-rural split is threat to farm and food policy-Glickman

The partisan split between rural and urban America jeopardizes the future of the panoramic bills that meld farm supports, rural economic development, public nutrition and global food security programs into a single bill, says former agriculture secretary Dan Glickman.

Rural voters shifted toward Republicans, like rest of US

Rural Americans, often socially and fiscally conservative, tend to vote at higher rates for Republicans than the nation overall. This year, when the country leaned Republican, the rate went up in rural areas too, says the Daily Yonder.

A rural icon, Iowa goes metropolitan

More than 60 percent of Iowas live in the city, yet the state is commonly pictured as a land of farms, dotted with small, industrial cities.

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