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Rural News

Marie-Claude Bibeau named Agriculture Minister in Canadian cabinet shuffle

Global News | Posted on March 4, 2019

 Marie-Claude Bibeau was shuffled Friday and became Minister of Agriculture and Agrifood, which was prompted as Lawrence MacAulay became Veteran’s Affairs Minister to replace Jody Wilson-Raybould.


Federal judge directs more counties to halt voter citizenship review efforts as lawsuits proceed

Texas Tribune | Posted on March 4, 2019

After state officials conceded that at least a quarter of a list of nearly 100,000 Texas voters flagged for citizenship review should never have been questioned, a federal judge said, "I wish all of this could've been done back as the original effort."

‘They’re cutting everything’: As coal disappears, Appalachians lose access to basic services

Southerly Magazine | Posted on March 3, 2019

In early February, Martin County, Kentucky Sheriff John Kirk took to Facebook to announce that his office was unable to continue providing law enforcement, warning residents to protect themselves instead. “I have had to operate the last little bit with just myself and one other paid deputy. There are volunteers that help when they can,” he wrote. “I am going to have to cut even more tomorrow. I have no choice. I can’t expect people to work if I can’t pay them.” The lack of funding Kirk faces is an acute example of a growing crisis confronting the Central Appalachian states of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. A decline in global demand for coal, plus competition from natural gas and renewables, has decimated the market and drastically reduced coal severance taxes, the fees coal companies pay to counties for extracting coal out of the ground. With counties stripped bare of their once bounteous cash flows from the coal industry, the revenue squeeze is exposing financial mismanagement, worsening a dire economic situation, and resulting in partial government shutdowns and cutbacks in core government services like infrastructure, education, and healthcare. “It’s a tough time to be in a small community that has relied for so many years on coal for its main economic driver,” said Rep. Angie Hatton, who represents Letcher County and part of Pike County in the Kentucky House of Representatives. “They’re cutting everything. We have laid off employees. Road maintenance, garbage service, water. Everything.”

‘Things are not going to get better for a long time’

High Country News | Posted on March 3, 2019

In early February, John Gillander, an older man with a thick white mustache and wire-rimmed glasses, parked his red Ford Fiesta inside a county park in Mohave County, Arizona. Snow dusted the top of Hualapai Peak, which jutted into the sky. His mobile home burned down during November’s Camp Fire in Paradise, California, and everything Gillander owns fit in the back of his car. His two dogs — an English cocker spaniel named Charlie-Horse and a red border collie called Scarlet — have accompanied him on his wanderings ever since he fled the flames. When I spoke with Gillander, he was waiting for his insurance company to give him enough money to purchase an RV — a stopgap until he can rebuild permanently in his hometown. “I’ve always wanted to travel,” Gillander told me. “And now I guess I have the time.”

Landmark ruling issued in Oregon landfill dispute

Capital Press | Posted on March 3, 2019

Negative impacts from non-farm developments can’t be offset by making payments to surrounding farmers, according to the Oregon Supreme Court. The state’s highest court has also concluded that such developments can’t significantly change agricultural practices or costs for individual growers in “exclusive farm use” zones.A longstanding legal battle over a planned landfill expansion in Yamhill County has led to the landmark ruling, which requires such developments to be analyzed “practice by practice and farm by farm.” The decision has determined that it’s not enough for such developments to avoid reducing the “overall supply of agricultural land” — they must also refrain from disrupting “particular farms and farming practices."

Rescue Network Sends Southern Puppies North

Pew | Posted on February 28, 2019

The dogs, loaded onto a Dodge cargo van marked “Mississippi Mutts On the Move,” like at least tens of thousands of others making the trip northward might once have died for lack of shelter space. Before the Oktibbeha County Humane Society shelter started shipping puppies and dogs north a decade ago, half the dogs and cats in its care were put down — a “kill rate” of 50 percent. Last year, when the humane society transported 3,000 dogs north, 93 percent of its animals left the shelter alive.“We are the epitome of the Southern shelter. We are too small for the amount of animals coming in,” said Michele Anderson, a humane society board member. The shelter was built in 2005 to hold 100 dogs and cats, but typically has 120, using crates in hallways to hold the excess. Every day brings in as many as 20 more animals.The trend of relocating animals began in the mid-2000s, when a slew of massive hurricanes devastated the South and left thousands of pets homeless. Shelter dogs, many lost or abandoned by fleeing residents, were moved around the country by volunteers hoping to eventually reunite them with owners. Animal rescuers took note, set up a travel network and since then, thousands of Southern animals have made treks north.

At House Ag Committee, Secretary Perdue Addresses the State of the Rural Economy

Farm Policy News | Posted on February 28, 2019

During his opening statement Wednesday, Sec. Perdue pointed out that, “Net farm income has fallen nearly 50 percent from its peak in 2013, as most commodity prices have fallen over the past 5 years while global stock levels have rebounded with several years of record production. “We saw the largest U.S. soybean crop ever in 2017 and again in 2018, U.S. corn production was the second highest ever in 2017 and third highest ever in 2018. However, other countries have also seen high production numbers.

Recreation counties have higher net migration rates

Daily Yonder | Posted on February 28, 2019

In non-metro counties, recreation counties are growin while non-recreation counties are losing residents. Counties with outdoor recreation economies are more likely to attract new residents with greater wealth and have faster-growing wages than their non-recreation counterparts. These trends are particularly true in rural communities.These findings come as the economic headwinds facing rural communities gain more attention nationally, including the concentration of jobs in big cities and increasing productivity (meaning lower employment per dollar of goods produced) of industries like manufacturing.

Injured workers in rural areas more likely to receive opioid Rx

Daily Yonder | Posted on February 28, 2019

Injured miners and construction workers are in the occupations most likely to receive an opioid prescription, the study shows. Injured workers living in “rural” or “very rural” areas were up to 25% more likely than urban injured workers to receive opioid painkillers.

The 2018 Farm Bill: Refinancing the Rural Community, Reinvigorating Growth

NYC Food Policy | Posted on February 27, 2019

Called in full the Rural Infrastructure and Economic Development title, Title VI of the Bill covers rural development policies and programs across the U.S. Broadly, these policies are intended to support rural growth and economic sustainability for food suppliers and distributors in non-urban areas. Its two primary policies are: The Rural Development Act (RDA), which provides grants and loans to rural businesses and organizations that are trying to improve their health, community, and economy. Funding is directed towards a wide range projects, including but not limited to building a sustainable infrastructure, supporting rural businesses, expanding rural health care services, and encouraging community development.The Rural Electrification Act (REA), which specifically provides credit, loans, and grants to expand access to telecommunications services in rural areas.