Rural Development

Rural America is a changing landscape, where renewable energy, new markets for food and crops, and new residents can serve as a basis for more resilient and sustainable farms, rural economies and ecosystems.

Over 75 percent of the United States is a rural area and rural communities will mosseverelyly feel the impact of climate change through crop loss, risk of exposure and extreme weather damage including flooding. 

For more information about the Rural Climate Dialogues, visit the homepage on the Rural Climate Network website. 

How U.S. climate policy treats agriculture

We can expect that the U.S. government's position on agriculture at the global climate talks in Copenhagen will reflect how agriculture has been treated in climate bills being written by Congress. Thus far, Congress has seized upon agriculture and forestry-related sequestration as a key tool to reduce the country's overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Monsanto and Pioneer duke it out over biotech corn, farmers take the hit

There is an old African saying “Whether elephants make love or war, the grass suffers.” The two elephants in the agricultural seed business are now making real war, although they have been wary of each other for years. Monsanto, a relatively recent entry into the business, has become the “dominant male” in the battle after moving to acquire a large number

Biomass program rolls out, raises eyebrows

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), launched in the last Farm Bill, was hailed as an opportunity to spur the wider adoption of new, more sustainable crops to feed a growing bioeconomy. Now, we are reminded once again that the intent of legislation and real-world implemention are two different things.

Farmers and the Health Care Debate

Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs out there, with a fatality rate nine times higher than the average job. Farm families, including children, are also at risk for injuries and death. So, the stakes are particularly high for farmers in the current debate over national health care.

A life in the (commodity futures) pits

My Aunt Kathryn is the only person that I know who successfully and consistently invested in the commodities futures markets. During a visit to her and Uncle Claude's farm, as a 15-year-old, I tried to understand why she needed all those newspapers, a calculator and notebooks spread out on the kitchen table.

Live from MRA: Making Ideas Happen

"When people love something, they take care of it together." This was the message of Minnesota Secretary of State, and IATP founder, Mark Ritchie at the Midwest Rural Assembly this morning as he linked together community pride, patriotism and rural revitalization. 

Live at the MRA: Success Stories for Working Landscapes

Rural communities are part of the vanguard of new ideas promoting small-scale sustainable production and use of energy and food. One of the challenges in expanding and scaling up these ideas is getting success stories out there and allowing others to benefit from their experience. At the Midwest Rural Assembly this afternoon, four communities shared their stories.  

Live from the MRA: USDA's Tonsager Outlines Rural Agenda

At the Midwest Rural Assembly this morning, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager got everyone's immediate attention by emphasizing that the agency has twice as much money as it had last year—and it needs to get that money out the door and into the countryside.