Great Plains loses 2.5 million acres of grasslands in one year
The annual Plowprint report by the World Wildlife Fund estimates 2.5 million acres of virgin grasslands in the Great Plains were converted to cropland, or energy and urban development last year. While it's a smaller loss than the 3.7 million acres of 2015, the perennial loss of grasslands is a threat to water quality and wildlife habitat in the Plains, which stretch from Texas into the Canadian prairies.
Rural job growth is one-tenth of big-city total
The largest U.S. urban areas, with populations of 1 million or more, enjoyed a 2-percent expansion in the number of jobs since last June, while in rural counties "job growth was a bit more than a tenth of that rate, or 0.29 percent, or about 60,000 jobs," reports the Daily Yonder. In the 924 counties that are not adjacent to any metropolitan area, the number of jobs declined by just over 1,000.
Long Beach may help turn vacant lots to urban farms
City officials in Long Beach, California, are laying the framework for an Urban Agriculture Enterprise Zone program “that would encourage more urban farms to crop up in vacant lots across the city,” says the Press-Telegram.
Keeping agriculture in an urbanizing county
Weld County, just northeast of Denver, "is the epicenter of urban growth and changing land use in Colorado," says public broadcaster KUNC.
Obama to boost high-speed Internet in rural and urban areas
President Obama is to visit Cedar Falls, Iowa, today to promote widespread availability of high-speed Internet service, including in rural areas with poor or no service. As part of its efforts, the White House says USDA will re-open its Rural Broadband program with $40-$50 million in loans "to eligible rural carriers that invest in bringing high-speed broadband to unserved and under-served rural areas." USDA also is accepting applications through its Community Connect program, which provides grants for broadband projects.
Food hub in Louisville will run from sales to recycling
The proposed 24-acre West Louisville Food Hub, with an expected cost of $45 million, would combine urban renewal in a distressed neighborhood of Louisville, KY, with local food marketing, says Civil Eats.
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.